DiBurro’s Ward Hill Redevelopment to Move Forward After Opponents Withdraw Objections

Andrew M. Chaban, CEO of Princeton Properties, shows an apartment building plan during the spring of 2019 in Haverhill City Hall. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Plans to build 153 apartments and up to two commercial buildings on the site of DiBurro’s Function Facility in Ward Hill are moving ahead now that a disputed resident petition has been withdrawn.

Princeton Properties of Lowell received various local approvals to redevelop the 6.5-acre site at 887 Boston Road, but 10 petitioners asked the state last December to override the Haverhill Conservation Commission. After Haverhill City Clerk Linda L. Koutoulas was unable to validate petitioner signatures, the state Department of Environmental Protection asked for proof. Jill Provencal, section chief of the Wetlands Program, confirmed in a letter last Friday that the objection was then withdrawn by email.

“The withdrawal of this appeal establishes the Order of Conditions issued by the Haverhill Conservation Commission, on Dec. 8, 2021, as the final order of conditions regulating activities on the site,” Provencal wrote.

Led by Christopher Twombly of 49 Vernon St., Haverhill, the signers wrote the approved stormwater management plan is “not adequate,” 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.

On the other hand, Princeton Properties Management Chief Executive Officer Andrew M. Chaban called the resident objection “frivolous,” telling WHAV plans were reviewed by the city’s outside, independent consultant.

Conservation Commission Community Liaison and Vice Chairman Ralph T. Basiliere added 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.

Besides Twombly, those signing the public petition were Jake Hoyle, 60 Washington St.; Joseph Terilli, 96 Margin St.; Jennie Twombly, 49 Vernon St.; Edmund Palen Jr., 124 Grove St.; Kurt, Kenneth and Krystle Stephen, 61 Charles St.; Simone Turcotte, 10 Parkview Lane; and Nicholas Lupoli, 211 River St.

Koutoulas 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.”

City Councilors voted 7-1 last July to approve the redevelopment plan.

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