Haverhill Council’s Denial of Diesel Fuel Storage on Amesbury Road Sparks Lawsuits

Haverhill City Hall. (WHAV News file photograph.)

A diesel fuel dealer, unhappy with the Haverhill City Council’s recent denial of a fuel storage license on Amesbury Road, is asking both Essex County Superior Court and the state’s Land Court to override the decision.

Kayrouz Petroleum of Westborough said in court filings it was to be the tenant at 298 Amesbury Road and agent of landowner Steven J. Eddy. The company said in court filings that it spent “tens of thousands of dollars in engineering costs and municipal fees, including building permit fees.” As WHAV reported first, Attorney Michael J. Migliori, representing Eddy, hinted at legal action at the conclusion of the July 26 hearing.

“This is not a special permit. It’s a license similar to a hot-dog cart license or any other licenses the City Council issues routinely. There’s no legal position to deny this permit,” he warned councilors.

Kayrouz Petroleum, represented by Andover lawyer Donald F. Borenstein, argues councilors treated the matter as a zoning issue when the diesel fuel depot is allowed “as of right.” The applicant added its design plan was approved by Fire Department Deputy Eric M. Tarpy “as long as all state and federal regulations (and) local ordinances are met” and “sound engineering practices” are used.

Kayrouz asked the Superior Court to overturn the license denial and award reimbursement of legal fees. In the separate Land Court filing, the company said “there exists an actual controversy regarding whether he project use is allowed as-of-right and…whether the license constitutes a special permit.” Kayrouz asked for similar relief from that court.

Responding to the filings, Haverhill City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr. said councilors gave valid reasons under the law for denying the permit.

Members rejected the license to store 32,000 gallons of diesel fuel in underground storage tanks, citing traffic and disruption of a “rural neighborhood.” Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan went further, saying the project should wait until a new intersection is created for an industrial park at the former Dutton Airport.

Councilors denied the application by a vote of 5-1 with only Councilor Shaun P. Toohey in favor. Voting against were Sullivan, Council Vice President John A. Michitson and Councilors Joseph J. Bevilacqua, Melinda E. Barrett and Melissa J. Lewandowski. Council President Timothy J. Jordan and Councilor Michael S. McGonagle abstained and Councilor Catherine P. Rogers was absent.

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