Haverhill Council Gives Approval for Next Step in Protecting 22.5 Acres From Development

Haverhill City Councilor Melinda E. Barrett. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The Haverhill City Council gave approval on Tuesday to a plan allowing the city to assign its option to purchase 22.5 acres of agricultural land to the Essex County Greenbelt Association.

The property, located at 97 Corliss Hill Road, is currently owned by Mark A. Byra and Daniel S. Byra. The city’s primary interest in the property is keeping it from being developed and protecting the watershed.

Haverhill City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr. explained the process from this point forward.

“The memorandum was the first step. This is the second step. Tonight, you’ll be assigning the city’s right of first refusal to purchase this land. Essex Greenbelt will then go ahead and perfect that by recording it. Once they take title to the property, we will be back in front of you with an order for eminent domain taking,” he explained.

Cox explained the friendly taking is the method the city uses to buy back 13 acres of that land located along the East Meadow River. The city’s portion of the $400,000 purchase is $150,000.

Haverhill’s portion of the land is primarily wooded area, while Greenbelt’s is farm and hay fields.

Council approved a memorandum of agreement regarding the project back in August.

Essex County Greenbelt Conservation Director Vanessa Johnson-Hall has promised any farming on the land will provide protection for drinking water.

The Council voted unanimously to approve the purchase agreement which is scheduled to be completed early next year.

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