Council Again Considers Parking Space Resolution for 1 Water St. Apartments; Sends to Committee

(File photograph.)

The Haverhill City Council this week took another swing at finding paid public parking for residents of Atherton Apartments downtown, but discovered resolution could be years away

Residents of the property at 1 Water St. have complained they are not allowed to buy parking permits for the Herbert H. Goecke Jr. Memorial Parking Deck because their building is not considered part of the downtown zoning district. City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan explained the crux of the problem.

“Originally the Atherton building was elderly subsidized housing, when having that many cars wasn’t that big of an issue as when they lost their subsidy and that became regular housing. And, now there are more cars and not enough spaces in the current lot,” he said.

Sullivan proposed referring the issue to the Council’s Natural Resources and Public Property Committee.

Councilor Melissa Lewandowski added the downtown district line appears somewhat arbitrary and, with new development planned in the area, councilors must figure how many spaces are available and how many would be needed. Members could then consider Atherton residents’ eligibility for parking there.

Councilor Melinda E. Barrett, who has voted against allowing the Atherton building to receive parking approval in the past, said, while she would be in favor of making the change once the new parking garage is built, she does not think this is the time.

“With the new parking garage, it definitely opens up some opportunities for that. I would be wary of allowing this parking during this transition time when they’re going to be taking half the deck. It just seems like that would be a pressure point that we might not be able to handle,” she explained.

Councilors agreed to send the issue to Natural Resources and Public Property for review by a vote of 7-0 with councilors Michael S. McGonagle and Joseph J. Bevilacqua absent.

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