City council to complete measures to protect Haverhill farmland from development tonight

Click on the image for the Haverhill City Council agenda.

Haverhill city councilors are expected to approve Haverhill’s right of first refusal on Tuesday evening to purchase 22.5 acres of protected farmland in partnership with the non-profit Essex County Greenbelt Association.

Scheduled public hearing ends debate over buying the land at 97 Corliss Hill Road, which began last March when Mayor James J. Fiorentini first turned down the option to buy the property for $ 400,000. $. In May and June, however, a plan emerged which called for Greenbelt to pay $ 250,000 for the property while Haverhill pays $ 150,000. Last June, Deputy Director of Public Works Robert E. Ward explained how the land will be divided.

“Essex Greenbelt will eventually own the property which is sort of an area of ​​meadow, farmland, hayfield. The city will eventually become the owner of the woodlot in the back. This is actually the best area to own for watershed protection, ”he said.

Development rights had previously been restricted in exchange for preferential taxes under state law. Last year the land was put up for sale to a private developer by owners Daniel S. and Mark A. Byra. Under state law, however, the city has the right to purchase the property if the owners intend to sell for residential, commercial, or industrial development.

Haverhill City Council meets Tuesday at 7 p.m., online and in person in Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. Council Chamber, Room 202, Haverhill Town Hall, 4 Summer St. As a public service, 97.9 WHAV plans to broadcast the meeting live.

Amalia H. Mercado