Talks with Landowners Temporarily Grounds Former Haverhill ‘Dutton’ Airport Rezoning

Utile consultant Will Cohen, Mayor James J. Fiorentini, Economic and Planning Director William Pillsbury Jr. and Mark Bobrowski, land use lawyer. (WHAV News file photograph.)

A new plan for the former Haverhill “Dutton” Airport didn’t get off the ground Wednesday night at a special Mayor/City Council Conference on zoning changes as talks with landowners are underway.

The airport, off Route 110 near Kenoza Lake, and another site off Route 97, opposite Computer Drive, have been touted as being ideal spots for new “business parks” and are integral pieces of “Haverhill Vision 2035,” the city’s new master plan.

Those parks would embrace both industrial and commercial usages, but require changes to zoning ordinances before they can become reality. Haverhill’s Economic Planning and Development Director William Pillsbury, said the plan hasn’t moved that far along yet.

“Those two industrial parks are conceived. The idea that we believe that those would be really excellent—the master plan bears that out—that we really think that those would be great locations. We’ve scoured the entire city to find areas where this makes sense and those are the two areas but, again, it does require conversations with the owners and those conversations are not concluded,” Pillsbury said.

Pillsbury said when they are ready, those proposals will come in as a separate rezoning petition.  Changes in zoning laws also require Planning Board review and public hearings.

The airport site closed in 1987 after it was sold by the Dutton family four years earlier. The new owners had planned to convert the land into an aquaculture farm but, due to pollution concerns, the idea never materialized.

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