Series of housing projects planned

This abandoned property, the old Skelley Motors gas station next to the Merrimack River in Haverhill, will become the site of a building containing nine condos. It is one of several housing projects coming to the city. MIKE LABELLA/Staff photo

Haverhill is experiencing a mini-housing boom.

It’s nothing like the wave that brought hundreds of apartments to old downtown shoe factories more than a decade ago, but many of the new projects are planned along the Merrimack River, which Haverhill is targeting for development.

The City Council last week approved the latest proposed project — a condo development on the east side of Route 125 in Bradford near the North Andover line. It will have 18 condos in the form of six townhouse-style buildings at 1240-1252 Boston Road. Each of the buildings will have three units.

That project is not along the river, but several other developments recently proposed for Haverhill are planned next to the Merrimack.

In November, the council approved a complex with nine condos at the site of the former Skelley Motors gas station next to the river. Vacant for decades, the property at 229 Water St. is next to the entrance to the Buttonwoods Riverside Trail, a public walkway along the river.

In January, despite opposition from neighbors, the council approved local businessman Ernie Cioto’s proposal to construct three, five-story buildings at 38 Railroad St., a former industrial site just east of Crescent Yacht Club and along the river. The council approved the project after it was scaled down from 60 units to 48.

The council plans to hold a public hearing May 18 on another riverfront project — a proposal to build 290 apartments along with some commercial space at the former Ornsteen Heel company property on the Bradford side of the river.

Last week’s council vote on the project near Route 125 in Bradford approved the development by a 6-3 margin. That cleared the way for David O’Leary of 1240 Boston Road to build the townhouse-style condos on his property at 1240-1252 Boston Road.

According to documents provided to the council by O’Leary’s lawyer, Paul Magliocchetti of Haverhill, O’Leary will create a seven-lot subdivision consisting of six lots for the condo buildings and one lot for his existing single-family home, which will be moved 240 feet back from its existing location.

Magliocchetti said O’Leary and his wife will continue to live in their home. He noted O’Leary was not seeking any variances or waivers for the project because it meets the city’s special permit requirements.

Voting in favor of the project were councilors Michael McGonagle, Colin LePage, Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien, Timothy Jordan, William Macek and John Michitson. Councilors Joseph Bevilacqua and Thomas Sullivan and council President Melinda Barrett were opposed.

The project was approved with conditions, including that the developer create a 200-foot-long, six-foot high solid fence as a boundary against a neighboring property.

Macek referred to the project as one of the higher quality ones that have come before the council, noting it is well designed.

Daly O’Brien said it’s the kind of a project the city would like to see more of, while Sullivan said he could not support the project because additional traffic control signals and traffic improvements are needed along that heavily traveled stretch of Route 125.



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