Haverhill Councilors Approve 10 Single-Family Homes Near Methuen

Haverhill City Hall. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The Haverhill City Council gave its approval Tuesday to a plan allowing 10 single-family homes to be built on 14.5 acres of land near Snow and Scotland Hill Roads on the Haverhill-Methuen border

Developer Robert Ferreira Jr., who has owned the property since 1988, petitioned for a special permit under the city’s new “Flexible Development” zoning provision allowing him to construct 10 homes on property zoned for seven. The provision allows for a “density bonus” for builders who agree to certain conditions. Attorney Paul A. Magliocchetti, representing Ferreira, told the Council his client met those conditions by providing nearly nine acres of undeveloped land.

“He’s allowed to build seven homes by right. When you did the flexible zoning, you allowed for density bonuses if a property owner meets certain criteria: when a developer offers additional open space above that required and sets it aside as contiguous open space. He’s worked very closely with Robert Moore the conservation commissioner here in Haverhill as well as Essex County Greenbelt. Unlike other developments, which have been approved, this is usable land. This is high and dry,” he said.

Magliocchetti said the open space includes a looped trail system open to the public. He added the property abuts land already protected by Essex County Greenbelt. He also noted Ferreira has agreed to provide infrastructure improvements such as 30 parking spaces near the trailhead and fire suppression systems in all of the homes.

While most residents who voiced opinions at the meeting were strongly supportive of the development plans, others such as Lisa Saunders, expressed concerns about increased traffic and the damage it will do to the roadways.

“Adding more traffic into the only real access point into our overburdened Fletcher alternative entrance and Toby Avenue is a real issue. Increased traffic on a busy street will compromise road conditions. Lower Snow Road is a mess,” she said.

Magliocchetti pointed out this is only the first step in the development process and the next step, the Development Review Phase, would address many of those concerns.

Councilors also had concerns which they expressed by adding conditions to their approval of the petition. Those included requiring Ferreira to foot the bill for a new pump station should the city’s Water and Wastewater Division deem it necessary, an agreement no construction will begin before 7:30 a.m. or continue after 5 p.m. and will take place on weekdays only and the builder will work with the city regarding the condition of affected roadways.

Those conditions were approved by an 8-0 vote with councilor Michael S. McGonagle absent.

Following that, councilors voted 7-1 to approve the special permit with Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan opposed.

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