Haverhill Council Approves One of Two Crystal Lake Area Conservation Requests; Second Vote Aug. 8

Essex County Greenbelt Association seeks to preserve more land around Crystal Lake in Haverhill, (WHAV News photograph.)

Two requests to accept conservation restrictions on separate pieces of property resulted in two very different responses at Tuesday night’s Haverhill City Council meeting.

The first property, part of the Crystal Lake Conservation Initiative, was endorsed by Mayor James J. Fiorentini and protects 18.61 acres of land off Crystal Street. The restriction allows for open space, passive recreation and water supply protection.

In a letter of endorsement, sent to the Council, the mayor said with this protection in place, the city has preserved a total of 889 acres of land and open space for future generations. Councilors supported the request by a unanimous 9-0 vote.

The second request, brought before the council by Essex County Greenbelt Land Conservation Project Manager Maggie Brown was for property located at 908 W. Lowell Ave.

“The conservation restriction will protect four acres of the, approximately, five-acre property. The current landowner has worked hard to improve the land into a cultivated orchard. The CR will insure that the orchard and other agricultural uses can continue on the property and that this open space will never be developed,” she said.

While all councilors expressed support for the project, City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr. noted the request, as posted on the agenda, was for discussion only. He told the council without an order or a document, the legislators could not actually vote to approve the request.

While councilors said they are sympathetic to the desire of both Greenbelt and property owner Mark Sullivan to move the project along, they realized their hands are tied and ultimately voted to delay the request to its Aug. 8 meeting.

In the interim, the Council recommended Greenbelt submit all necessary paperwork to the City Clerk’s office and mayor so as not to cause the request to drag on.

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