Haverhill and State DEP Officials Seek Proof of Residency From Foes of DiBurro’s Redevelopment

DiBurro’s Function Facility, 887 Boston Road, Haverhill. (WHAV News photograph.)

An appeal, asking the state Department of Environmental Protection to overturn local approval of an apartment project in Bradford, has come under scrutiny by both the city and state.

Last Friday, DEP’s Tyler Ferrick, advised lead petitioner Christopher Twombly of Vernon Street, Haverhill, to verify all signatures opposed to current plans to replace DiBurro’s Function Facility. Conservation Commission Community Liaison and Vice Chairman Ralph T. Basiliere told WHAV Tuesday he has been suspicious of the appeal all along.

“This appeal is like 10 pounds of manure in a five-pound bag. The more anyone kicks it, the more it stinks. This is about something other than the Wetlands Protection Act,” Basiliere said.

As WHAV reported first last month, 10 petitioners wrote the approved stormwater management plan associated with Princeton Properties’ redevelopment proposal is “not adequate,” saying impacts to the property’s wetlands were “not properly described,” a proposed retaining wall cannot be constructed without affecting a “no disturb” zone and there may be endangered species such as the blue-spotted salamander.

Haverhill City Clerk Linda L. Koutoulas questioned the validity of signatures at the end of December. In a letter to Princeton Properties of Lowell, she said she could not verify at least four of the names based on a review of street listings, voter registrations and assessor files. She further noted that the signatures of three members of a family appears to have been “done by same person.”

Ferrick wrote “proof of residency” must be provided in the form of “statements made sworn under pains and penalties” with exhibits showing the individuals receiving mail at the addresses listed.

Petitioners asked the state to replace the city’s conditions with its own.

Basiliere previously said the developer went “above and beyond” what the Commission could require, including “daylighting” the partially underground “Barker Brook” to expose the brook and mitigate erosion.

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