Public Meetings This Week: Council Seeks Resolution to Downtown Paid Parking Stalemate

The Herbert H. Goecke Jr. Memorial Parking Deck. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The public has opportunities to shape policy this week as various Haverhill boards meet. In the interest of transparency in government, WHAV provides this list of upcoming meetings every week.

Click image for Haverhill City Council agenda.

Haverhill City Council begins anew discussions of the city’s troubled downtown paid parking plan tomorrow, starting with a decision on whether to override Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s veto of a plan to help councilors get around state conflict of interest rules.

Late last month, councilors and the mayor attempted to resolve a problem where certain councilors are barred from voting on parking issues because they either own property or have parking passes for downtown area. Because five votes are required—even when as many as four members cannot participate, most parking measures fail.

The goal was to have the remainder of councilors each buy a parking pass, invoking the so-called “Rule of Necessity” and bypassing state conflict of interest statutes. While he supported the plan, Fiorentini reportedly killed the measure because of a Council amendment limited the number of new passes to those councilors who need them. The amendment limiting the benefit to elected officials likely runs afoul of state law.

Ironically, the mayor’s appointment of City Councilor William J. Macek to the Central Business District Parking Commission was postponed because the Council lacked the votes to confirm it. Macek was named by Fiorentini after the councilor said he would withdraw some of his opposition to the downtown paid parking plan in order to resolve problems.

Council Vice President Colin F. LePage added a discussion of Fiorentini’s defeated July 2018 plan to change parking fees, rates and terms It was Macek’s opposition to paid parking that killed the proposal. With Macek’s possible change of heart, Fiorentini asked the matter be returned for discussion.

On Tuesday, Councilors are expected to decide whether to designate Procopio Companies of Lynnfield, as “preferred developer” of the former Ornsteen Heel property near the Bradford commuter rail station. Procopio is proposing to buy the city-owned land for $1 million and build 290 apartments, retail and restaurant space and a public park, among other amenities.

The Haverhill City Council meets at 7 p.m., in the Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. City Council Chambers on the second floor of Haverhill City Hall, 4 Summer St.

In other public meetings this week:

Tonight, Feb. 24

Golden Hill Elementary Stakeholders’/School Council meets at Monday, Feb. 24, 4:30 p.m., at the school, 140 Boardman St. The agenda includes an update on the turnaround plan and priority-setting.

Tuesday, Feb. 25

Haverhill Board of Assessors meets for its regular weekly meeting Tuesday, Feb. 25, 9 a.m., in room 115, Haverhill City Hall, 4 Summer St.

Wednesday, Feb. 26

Merrimack Valley Planning Commission meets to accept public comment on various transportation projects. The meeting takes place beginning at noon, Wednesday, Feb. 26, at the Commission’s offices, 160 Main St., across from Haverhill City Hall.

Haverhill Mayor/City Council Workshop is scheduled to discuss upcoming zoning changes suggested by the city’s new “Vision Haverhill 2035” master plan. The meeting takes place Wednesday, Feb. 26, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., in the City Council office, room 204, Haverhill City Hall.

Thursday, Feb. 27

Haverhill’s Community Affairs Advisory Board begins ranking proposals Thursday submitted by various individuals and groups to spend about $1 million in federal Community Development Block Grant money expected next fall. The Board meets at 6 p.m., in room 301, of Haverhill City Hall.

Haverhill School Committee meets for its regular meeting, Thursday, Feb. 27, in the Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. City Council Chambers on the second floor of Haverhill City Hall, 4 Summer St. An agenda has not yet been released.

Haverhill City Council’s Natural Resources and Public Property Committee hears a proposal from a homeowner wishing to purchase property next to his home at 256 Whittier Road. Members will also decide the status of various other proposals to come before the Committee including one from David Labrode to discuss tree planting and Gale Park Association’s request to replace the Gale Park fountain. The Committee meets Thursday, Feb. 27, 7 p.m., in the City Council office, room 204, Haverhill City Hall.

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