A race to bring electricity to two new businesses in Haverhill’s Broadway Business Park came up against neighbor concerns Tuesday night over the removal of more than 100 trees said to be obstacles.
Representatives of National Grid went before city councilors for permission to install utility poles to serve Monogram Food Solutions and Edwards Vacuum—two new businesses under construction. Councilor Melissa Lewandowski, however, questioned plans to remove trees in two areas.
“I had an opportunity to drive Rochambault and Forest and it appears there are, between Rochambault and Forest St. and West Lowell and Broadway, there’s like over 100 trees that are tagged. It’s like alarming to go up there and see how many,” she said.
A National Grid representative told councilors his company’s arborist inspected those trees and found most are diseased and must come down. Lewandowski, while admitting she is not an expert, said some of those trees looked healthy. She asked that the petition be delayed for two weeks in order to have the city’s arborist take another look.
The utility’s Joseph Muraco added the pole placements are necessary to meet a schedule for providing electricity.
“We did have a shade tree hearing, I think the week before last and, after that meeting, our arborist actually did walk again with the residents and the two arborists to look at the trees that were in question and there was some discussion that the trees were, in fact, diseased,” he said.
Buildings affected are Monogram’s $43.6 million, 135,000-square-foot food manufacturing plant and warehouse on Creek Brook Park and Edwards Vacuum’s $50 million 121,800-square-foot “innovation and solutions center. Both are being constructed by Dacon Corporation of Natick.
Muraco said the project is an important one to the city and is already behind schedule. He told councilors his crew was ready to go to work immediately. Councilors proposed compromise variations, but eventually agreed to approve the pole petition with the understanding that utility and city arborists take a second look. City arborist Neil Kelleher; interim Public Works Director Robert E. Ward, who also serves as Haverhill’s tree warden; and Councilors Lewandowski and Melinda E. Barrett are expected to inspect the trees before any are cut.
The council agreed by a unanimous 9-0 vote.