Haverhill Council Gives Green Light to Ward Hill Zoning Change, Delays Action on Ending Paper Street

Haverhill City Counci President Timothy J. Jordan. (WHAV News file photograph by Jay Saulnier.)

The Haverhill City Council gave its approval Tuesday night to moving a zone line—termed a “correction”—effectively reclassifying seven acres of property at 130 Neck Road from Residential High Density to Business Park.

The property, which abuts Ferry Road, is owned by Hardal which also owns 33 acres of adjacent property designated as Business Park. Attorney Donald Sheldon, representing Hardal explained the reason for the request.

“We are here to reset the Business Park zoning border to the edges of the property, thereby making the entire parcel Business Park. We believe the zoning change would benefit the city and the neighbors by converting the seven acres of high residential land into the business park, alleviating potential additional traffic that a residential development could otherwise bring,” he said.

While there were a few voices of opposition when the Planning Board held a public hearing on the request last month, no one spoke out against the proposal at the Council meeting.

Hardal voluntarily agreed to two requirements—not to allow vehicular access from the Ferry Road frontage, except for emergency fire department purposes, and to provide adequate buffering and screening along Ferry Road. The determination of what would be considered adequate will be made by the building inspector at the time of development review. Those stipulations will be part of a deed restriction that will carry over to any future owners of the property.

With those restrictions, councilors voted unanimously to approve the zoning request by a vote of 8-0 with councilor Catherine Rogers absent.

Meanwhile, during a separate public hearing, the Council voted to table a request by Joy LaBelle calling for the discontinuance of two, so-called, paper roads adjacent to her property. The two roads, Eagle Avenue, formerly known as Edward Street, and a portion of Willow Street are roads designated on a map but not constructed.

By discontinuing the roads as public ways, the property, which is about 40 feet wide would be divided equally by LaBelle on one side of the road, adding 20 feet to her property, and home owners on the other side of the road also receiving an additional 20 feet of land.

That request received a favorable recommendation from the Planning Board last month. At the council meeting, however, it was revealed that the proposed division is not 50-50 across the board and that LaBelle would actually take more than half of the property in some areas. David McGinnis is a property owner from other side of the road.

“If it’s going to be 20 feet it should be 20 feet straight across—not whatever is beneficial to the owner of the lot, to make it for them,” he said.

Without the engineer responsible for drawing up the plans available to explain the disparity, councilors voted to table the matter two weeks.

Comments are closed.