Haverhill City Councilors to Hear Proposed Changes to Siting Residential Solar Panels

Haverhill city councilors are expected to move a bit closer tonight to keeping residential solar panels from blighting neighborhoods. Councilor William J. Macek, who successfully fought last year for a moratorium on such ground-based solar farms, is asking the Council’s Administration and Finance Committee to tighten rules on visibility, access and property setbacks. Referring to last year’s proposal for a 250-kilowatt AC array off upper Broadway, Macek said he wants neighbors protected. “It was right in their back yards. It would have been a terrible thing to look at,” Macek said.

Maker of ‘Wild Bill’s Beef Jerky,’ Other Foods Creating 600 Jobs with New Haverhill Plant

Six hundred new jobs are coming to Haverhill’s Broadway industrial park with the Haverhill Conservation Commission Thursday night giving initial site approval to the maker of Wild Bill’s Beef Jerky and other foods. Monogram, which already has a Wilmington operation, adds to Haverhill’s large and growing portfolio of food manufacturers. The Memphis, Tenn.-based company is expanding in Haverhill at a vacant lot at 20 Computer Drive, off Route 97, officials told the Conservation Commission. Besides Massachusetts, the company operates plants in Virginia, Minnesota, Indiana, Texas, Iowa and Wisconsin. Conservation Commissioners gave the company initial approvals to begin sitework, but the company will be required to come back with a more detailed plan to protect and grow wetlands vegetation.

Fiorentini Vetoes Haverhill Parking Plan to Overcome Councilors’ Conflicts of Interest

A plan to circumvent state ethics rules and permit more Haverhill city councilors to vote on downtown parking issues, was vetoed Friday by Mayor James J. Fiorentini. In a letter to city councilors, Fiorentini said he discussed the matter with City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr., and concluded “this will not accomplish what we wish to accomplish which was to allow all city councilors to vote on downtown parking agenda items.” Indirectly referencing last week’s willingness by City Councilor William J. Macek to withdraw objections to the current downtown parking plan, the mayor asked that his earlier proposal be revisited. “I think all of the City Council is aware of the tremendous problems we have with the existing parking plan. It no longer pays for itself. We no longer have the money to maintain the parking meters.

Serenity at Summit Renovating Vacant Riverside Nursing Home, Adding 20 Drug Treatment Beds

The 41-bed Serenity at Summit holistic care detox and residential center in Riverside is adding 20 beds—a moved hailed by local officials as a critical step toward containing the opioid epidemic. Contractors are already on site at the former city-owned Glynn Memorial Nursing Home, 61 Brown St., off Lincoln Avenue. Executive Director Eric Ekberg said plans call adding beds to the existing treatment program with one floor dedicated to outpatient services. “It’s touching everyone and people need treatment. The evidence tells us the more we have intervention, to get them in a stable environment, the better,” he said, adding, there are as many people involved as with the person who suffers from it.

New Haverhill Police Website Offers Crime Mapping, Division Facts, Services, Forms and More

The Haverhill Police Department recently unveiled its new website, enabling residents to view arrest logs and maps of high crime areas, submit tips and learn about available addiction services. Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro says the department has been developing the new site for more than a year at a modest cost of about $5,000. “We knew what was important to the public. We wanted to make it easily accessible. If you have a problem or questions about animal control, for example, it’s all there for you.

Haverhill Council to Consider 27 Rental Units in New Building Near Lafayette Square

Twenty-seven rental apartments could be coming to a vacant lot near Lafayette Square. Haverhill city councilors hear a request tonight for a special permit from developers Steve and Caprice Pascoe of Danville, N.H. They are proposing 21 one-bedroom, 550-square-foot and six two-bedroom apartments at 235 Essex St., adjacent to O’Reilly Auto Parts. The project has the blessing of the city’s Planning Board and Economic and Planning Director William Pillsbury Jr.

“There is a demonstrated need for this type of unit. the infill project will also provide public access to Little River,” Pillsbury told WHAV. In a letter to councilors, the Pascoes plan to build a three-story, wood-framed building and pledge to provide a 25-foot riverfront easement to the city.

Haverhill Mayor to Explain Delay in Hiring Citywide Maintenance Director; Asks for a New Study

Haverhill City Council learns tomorrow night why Mayor James J. Fiorentini has yet to hire a maintenance director—a key agreement leading to last June’s approval of a $201 million city budget. The mayor seems ready instead to pay $12,500 for the city’s share of a study to review city wide building maintenance operations. Haverhill schools would pay the other half—similar to the arrangement reached last June to hire a director to coordinate repairs and upkeep of all city buildings and share the cost of a heating and cooling professional. Back then. the mayor said he was convinced to add the new jobs after meeting with Councilors Colin F. LePage and Joseph J. Bevilacqua.

Haverhill Forum: Besides Ward Councilors, Voters Could Opt for Mayoral, School Committee Changes

Although Haverhill’s mayor made his pitch last night for ward councilors during a downtown forum, it became clear to those in attendance that a charter change could also alter the School Committee as well as the mayor’s powers. The forum, “Exploring the Possibility of Neighborhood Representation,” was sponsored by Greater Haverhill Indivisible and Latino Coalition of Haverhill. Mayor James J. Fiorentini told the approximately 100 people there he will soon ask the City Council to approve asking voters to elect one city councilor for each of the city’s seven wards and four more from the city at large. Voters could be asked to make the change as early as this November. Responding to questions from Shawna and Brian Kelley, City Councilor John A. Michitson noted the new City Council could still be hamstrung by Haverhill’s “strong mayor” form of government.