Steeper Conservation Fines, Campgrounds on Haverhill’s Horizon; Michitson Plans Summit

Lake Saltonstall, better known as Plug Pond, in Haverhill. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Click image for Haverhill City Council agenda.

Haverhill may see steeper fines for non-criminal offenses in recreational areas, as well as new fishing spots and campgrounds on public lands.

If city councilors ultimately approve a set of updated ordinances, violating any rule set by the Conservation Commission will bring $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second and max out at $300 for the third. Conservation Officer Daniel McDonald is in charge of these penalties. After 10 years without a dedicated enforcer, the city brought back the position in 2023. For now, councilors are expected to first place them on file for the required two weeks tomorrow night.

The proposal brings new water-related fines, all on a $50-$100-$300 scale. These include boating or paddleboarding where it isn’t allowed, using a boat with no life preserver and unpermitted seasonal moorings. Originally only a $50 penalty, illegally building a structure on a body of water now uses the graded penalty model. The same is true for hunting and fishing illegally and using “motor-driven vehicles of any nature” on bodies of water where disallowed.

If applicable, each day of continuing to break the law counts as a new offense, moving the fine up the scale until it reaches the maximum, $300. An oddly specific rule added in 1990, $25 for “discharging firearms in Brandy Brow Area,” is being removed.

Environmental Health Technician Robert E. Moore Jr. wrote to councilors the city water department asked to prohibit fishing at Winnekenni Basin, which is right next to Kenoza Lake, where fishing is not allowed. Those caught at Kenoza allege “confusion” as to which body of water they were using, presumably in the hopes of escaping fines. The proposal includes opening Crystal Lake to fishing and “paddling.”

The changed ordinance will also allow the recreation department to develop a camping program, a “significant expansion of our recreational offerings … requested by residents over the years,” Moore wrote.

In other news, City Councilor John A. Michitson delivered on his promise to put together a summit to help all high school students get the job training they want. Tentatively set for Aug. 16, 8 a.m. to noon, he plans to gather 12 local nonprofits and 21 area employers—like chemical manufacturer Cabot and Joseph’s Gourmet Pasta—to find solutions for individual, anonymized students who submitted a “requested skill and training path.”

The program is only for those who need to “cross school boundaries” or whose school needs more money to supply their desired training. Noting the over 200 Haverhill High School students on the waitlist for Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School, a description of the August summit asks, “What are alternative paths available to each of these students to develop a skill they have a passion for?”

Michitson invited Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Alexandria Eberhardt and HP3 Director Allison Heartquist to speak at tomorrow’s meeting.

The Haverhill City Council meets Tuesday night at 7, remotely and in-person at the Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. Council Chambers, room 202, Haverhill City Hall, 4 Summer St. As a public service, 97.9 WHAV plans to carry the meeting live.

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