Developer Drops Three Units From Lake Street/Mohawk Trail Housing Plans and Wins Approval

Haverhill City Councilor Melissa J. Lewandowski. (Courtesy photograph.)

After being denied his request last week to construct a dozen single-family homes on 25 acres of land at Lake Street and the Mohawk Trail, Haverhill city councilors Tuesday gave a thumbs up to Aaron Orso of Cedar Crest Development after he dropped three houses.

As only WHAV reported at the time, Orso originally sought to use an element of the city’s new zoning master plan, called “Flexible Development,” to build four additional homes in an area zoned only for 10. When that request was met by opposition from a number of neighbors, Orso agreed to reduce the total to 12. When councilors voted last week, however, the developer was still unable to garner the two-thirds vote necessary for approval.

City Councilor Melissa J. Lewandowski explained what happened since. She said the developer sat down with councilors after the meeting and agreed to make, what she termed, “substantial changes to his proposal.” As a result, Lewandowski exercised her right to seek reconsideration and reintroduced the proposal with changes.

“Specifically the material changes include a reduction from 14 to 11 units. There will be frontage and side setback increases to all of those units. There will also be installation of a community area of park and that will be an ongoing process and discussion with the neighbors as to what works best,” she explained.

Lewandowski added there will be additional buffering for directly impacted neighbors and the open space will be increased by more than an acre by eliminating an existing barn.

With these changes in place and approval from all departments involved the Council voted 6-3 in favor, meeting the necessary two-thirds vote for passage.

Voting in favor were President Timothy J. Jordan and Councilors Thomas J. Sullivan, Michael S. McGonagle, Catherine P. Rogers, Shaun P. Toohey and Lewandowski. Those voting in opposition were Vice President John A. Michitson and Councilors Melinda E. Barrett and Joseph J. Bevilacqua.

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