Haverhill Councilors Approve ‘Green’ Home Near Water Supply

Haverhill City Hall. (WHAV News file photograph.)

A special permit request for a single-family home near Round Pond passed Haverhill City Council last night with flying colors.

Using words like “tremendous,” “thoughtful” and “inspirational,” councilors praised the environmentally friendly design, which sends clean runoff into Round Pond, has no carbon footprint and improves drainage in the area. The home, located at 0 Stanley Drive, is less than 500 feet from the source of drinking water, putting it in the Water Supply Protection Overlay District.

“It’s a great thing that you are going to be a model for net zero because I think … it’s going to become standard, sooner or later, anyway,” Councilor John A. Michitson said.

The lot’s zoning is the reason for the special permit hearing. Last December, councilors rejected Ronald Judkins’ proposal for the same property because, they said, he wanted to build a duplex—they preferred a single-family—and provided insufficient drainage. Dennis R. Suslavich and Susan M. Suslavich bought the land from Peter C. Lane for $80,000 in March.

Compared to Judkins’ proposal, Russell S. Channen, Suslavich’s lawyer, said, “In viewing the homes on Stanley Drive, all beautiful homes, the house actually fits in with the characteristic of that neighborhood.”

Suslavich told councilors he has lived and run a business in Haverhill for over 37 years. “I had a curveball thrown at me. I built my house 37 years ago, and didn’t think I’d be moving, and having major health issues is causing me to downsize. This house would be more acceptable to my needs later on.”

Stormwater currently carries pollution from the road into Round Pond, a problem Suslavich said his house will fix. He cares about the body of water. “I fished this lake when I was a kid. My buddies that I fished with 40 years ago, we’re still fishing it today.”

With solar panels and electric heat pumps, Suslavich said the home will be completely independent from the city power grid. He called the design a “blueprint” for future developments. His project also includes building a stormwater pipe under Stanley Drive, which he said will decrease the amount of water that usually streams across the road.

Suslavich said he made sure to meet with abutters and address their concerns. Only one neighbor, Linda Downey, expressed opposition to the project at last night’s meeting, pointing to the potential for groundwater to be displaced by the foundation. Engineer Joseph J. Serwatka assured her the foundation would lie above the groundwater level, a response to which she appeared satisfied.

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