Pending Decision

Petition: Revised Development - 38 Railroad St

Petition from Attorney Paul Magliocchetti for applicant Ernest Coito for revised development - Site Plan Review Major for 48 condos at 38 Railroad St; Parcel ID: 701-630-9


Site_plan_review_major_petition_letter_to_the_Council_10.23 ( 0.19 MB )
Brief_in_support_of_38_Railroad_Street_Development_10.23 ( 0.21 MB )
Conceptual_Site_Plan_10-15-20_Thu_Nov_5_2020_16-06-25 ( 0.28 MB )
City_Council_Presentation_10-15-20_Thu_Nov_5_2020_16-06-36 ( 24.5 MB )
38_Railroad_trafiic_study_Thu_Nov_5_2020_16-10-57 ( 3.21 MB )
Mailing_Labels_38_Railroad_St_Mon_Nov_9_2020_12-56-40 ( 0.01 MB )
William Pillsbury, Jr., Economic and Development Director RE: Waterfront Zoning ( 0.1 MB )
Easement Deed Railroad Street 9.11 ( 0.09 MB )
Quitclaim_Deed_38_Railroad_Street_Fri_Jan_22_2021_15-42-18 ( 0.24 MB )
Cioto_-_38_Railroad_Street_-_Record_Boundary_Letter_(1-25-21)_Mon_Jan_25_2021_18-11-26 ( 0.35 MB )
traffic_study_update_38_RR_Street_Sun_Jan_24_2021_15-04-51 ( 2.11 MB )
38-railroad-st-condominium-development-support_signatures_Tue_Jan_26_2021_17-36-18 ( 0.79 MB )

Comments & Feedback

This case is closed, online commenting is no longer available.
Online comments closed at 3:00 PM EST 1/26/21.
I think this is a great opportunity for Haverhill to utilize the waterfront and entice more people to live here. We have a thriving downtown which will only get better after the pandemic. Haverhill has many things to offer and this will be a great addition!
January 26, 2021, 3:09 PM
Diane Brusso
5 / 9 Council Members have viewed this comment
I have grown up on the river in Haverhill for many years. It is great to finally hear a development coming into Haverhill to better the city and take advantage of the river access. This Condo project is a great way to take advantage of one of Haverhill's biggest assets the river. It would be great to see the river a happy place to grow up on again. Haverhill is a nice city and having all the new and improved things come makes it a great interest for people to move here.
January 26, 2021, 2:55 PM
Candi Sinotte
5 / 9 Council Members have viewed this comment
I have lived in Haverhill for 13 years now, and I had no idea that there was even a residential area back in there. I've only seen that side of the river from Water Street and I thought it was an abandoned industrial site. This project will help to showcase the amazing updates that the city has done to downtown & Riverwalk. The Riverwalk is now a nice area to come and have lunch/dinner with really cute shops, upscales restaurants and nice walking areas, rather than the run down, drug & gang filled city that everyone associates as Haverhill. Coming up the river, and seeing a high end residential condominium complex will be a better visual for what is yet to come as someone proceeds up the river towards downtown Riverwalk vs. a bunch of rundown, kind of scary warehouses. This project could provide a better living environment for everyone. This project could enhance the really cute houses that are in that neighborhood making it a really sought after area to live, by doing that, the current home owners would benefit by their property values going up. More people coming in paying taxes could help to pay for road repair, and improvements of schools, etc.
January 26, 2021, 2:18 PM
Heather Street
5 / 9 Council Members have viewed this comment
The proposed development will create Hardship and Chaos for the folks who are Subjected to living in the shadows of this five story, 48 unit, complex. Congestion, precarious traffic scenarios, and an over all degradation in the quality of life is a huge tax to exact from those residents who have been living there for decades. A smaller project would be more appropriate. There is no need to rush this through. Respectfully Yours Frank Moscuzza
January 26, 2021, 1:52 PM
Frank Moscuzza
5 / 9 Council Members have viewed this comment
I am also a direct abutter. And long time Haverhill resident Mr.Cioto and his lawyer made no attempt to discuss any concerns we have with this project but of course until tonight were most abutters won't be able to speak due to logistics and the pandemic. I also think the city shouldn't use or give the land bought for the rail trail with our taxes to grant Mr. Cioto access to otherwise land locked property? I hate to think my tax money is supporting these driveways that will have approximately 200 to 300 more cars exiting there driveway right at my house. With narrow streets and no sidewalks I feel its just a matter time before someone gets hurt or worse. There are a lot of unanswered questions and research about utilities that are needed to be done. This project looks great from the Haverhill side but my view I will be looking at one giant apartment building, parked cars, traffic and lots of dumpsters. There screens for dumpsters will have no affect for me with the grade difference I will be looking at who knows how many dumpsters from my Livingroom picture window? Thanks William J Gould senior
January 26, 2021, 11:36 AM
William J Gould
6 / 9 Council Members have viewed this comment
As a long time Haverhill resident and business owner, I hereby express support of the Railroad Street project. For years, development on the Merrimack River was not only impractical but it was not possible. The years of not taking care of the river rendered the land along the bank to be used mostly for commercial uses. It certainly was not desirable. As time has passed, we as a community, have made taking care of this amazing resource that flows through the center of the city a priority. Also, because of the leadership in this administration with implementation of the Waterfront Zoning District, the City government has also made it a priority to make it possible to develop along the River once again. This project, the Railroad Street development hits on the many objectives within the waterfront district for example, promoting public access, regaining an active waterfront, redevelopment of underutilized land and continuing the rail trail. Another important factor is the appropriateness of housing specifically condominiums at this site. Some of the more recent proposals have been rentals and this project will provide an option for people who want to own and live along the River. In sum, I support this project and believe that the City should work with the developer to make sure this project moves forward.
January 26, 2021, 10:21 AM
Francis Bevilacqua
6 / 9 Council Members have viewed this comment
As direct abutters to this project we agree with our neighbors and their objections and have sent letters to the councilors stating so. We also object to this project on a very personal level. We purchased this small home 35 years ago. We chose to live next to a crappy old factory building because of the privacy it provided us. We have a severely disabled Son whose actions and vocalizations are not always appropriate. Our home is our solace. It is where Jo can just be Jo. To move is not an easy option, as our home has been adapted with ramps, lifts etc. Not once has anyone from this project attempted to personally contact us to ask what they could do to help relive our stress. We requested that this project be moved as far away from our property line as possible, only to be informed yesterday that they will actually be moving it closer. They plan to remove a wall & fence that have been the boundary line since the factory was built and replace it with a new wall and fence closer to our property line where we have gardens, shrubs, and a pool. We realize that Mr.Cioto has a dream to develop his property, but in our wildest of dreams we NEVER envisioned a Rail Trail & 48 units (5 stories high) replacing that old factory building.
January 26, 2021, 9:30 AM
George and Donna Frascone
6 / 9 Council Members have viewed this comment
This proposal will bring more traffic,congestion,and chaos to an already crowded area. Also, add more children to a already filled school district.
January 26, 2021, 8:28 AM
Jodie Chisnall
6 / 9 Council Members have viewed this comment
This is a great project that will enhance not only the neighborhood but the entire city. For decades we have been a river community but have turned our backs on the water because it was polluted and unsightly. Through great effort, the river has been cleaned and revitalized and over the past 10 years we have reengaged with our most precious natural asset. There are now numerous river based re-development success stories. Harbor Place and the extension of the boardwalk, the Bradford Rail trail, and most recently, the Heights Haverhill. Change can be scary. There is comfort in consistency. But, we cannot let the fears of the few outweigh the good of the many. We cannot be scared of continued river development. With any project, there will always be claims of traffic and parking concerns. And there will always be a vocal minority with a loud voice that seems to speak for all of Haverhill. I urge the council to consider the big picture. Listen carefully and thoughtfully to those who protest but remember that the greater good of the community must be served. There is always a huge silent portion of the population that approves or would approve if they knew about the facts surrounding the new project. Let this project go forward and revitalize a section of the river with dilapidated commercial buildings. Let's get more people living, working and playing on the beautiful Merrimack River. Let's continue to make the river corridor of Haverhill a destination for people both within our city and from afar. Let Haverhill's economic and social rebirth continue. Please approve this beautiful project and send a message that Haverhill is willing, able and ready to become the next great river based community it has the potential to be.
January 26, 2021, 7:54 AM
Sven Amirian
6 / 9 Council Members have viewed this comment
Being part of this neighborhood, I have always thought that this part of Haverhill has been in need of some new development. Being on the side of the river gives this area a lot of opportunities to improve and be a better place for all of us to live. With this being said, I think that this project is a very good chance and very good opportunity that is being offered to us. Another important benefit of this project is the effect it has on lowering the crime rate in the area, because new projects mean new development for the city by increasing property value and making this an attractive neighborhood.
January 26, 2021, 12:34 AM
Onelda Bariu
6 / 9 Council Members have viewed this comment
Well, just by looking at the project I get a really great feeling that it will upgrade the sorrounding area and not only. This project will give Haverhill the chance to attract more interest on people buying apartments and it develop the area in general. Consequently this will improve the quality of neighborhood and reduce crime rate in the area. I like the project and give my approval for it.
January 25, 2021, 9:29 PM
Dorian Prifti
6 / 9 Council Members have viewed this comment
Currently there are have been over 100 signatures collected on a petition in growing support of this project. Many of the signatures are from Bradford residences with positive remarks of their thoughts of this project such as "great project that upgrades the area and the city", "the city needs this" and "love the extension of rail trail with public access to the riverfront without taxpayers money"
January 25, 2021, 6:56 PM
Chris Crump
6 / 9 Council Members have viewed this comment
As longtime residents, we’re concerned with several implications this project could impose on our neighborhood, including precarious pedestrian flow, increased trash build-up (which is already a problem stemming from the park near the Crescent Yacht Club), and the huge eyesore that 55-foot buildings will bestow upon our street. We’ve had the privilege of enjoying sunlight and river views in our little community for over 20 years now, and we worry that this is coming to an abrupt end. However, one concern stands out amongst the others, namely, the capacity and functionality of our aging sewer line. Thus far, we have encountered several issues over the years with build-up, resulting in many hours and dollars spent on finding the cause of a sewer backup that originated at the connection point at the main sewer line. During the many hours back and forth between the city and contractors, we learned that the lines here are not only very old, but the pitch is inadequate to provide consistent flow. This is due to settling pipes that have dropped as they aged, and I believe that the heavy truck traffic on our street has further complicated this problem over the years. In addition, we’ve watched other streets benefit from the installation of new sewer lines while this one continues to disintegrate years beyond learning from specialists that it may not be up to today’s standards. With three additional fifty-five-foot condo buildings being imposed on our neighborhood, our question is, how do we feel confident that the current sewer pipes on Railroad Street are not only up to today’s standards, but that they are also at least wide enough to accommodate for the increased population that these huge buildings will bring? It’s important to verify when the last inspection was conducted on our street to check for cracks and fissures. In addition, it's essential to confirm that the pipe is wide enough to meet today’s standards and accommodate this new condo project. It is our understanding that the pipelines by the river are very old, whereas those along the interior have been updated. Why go about a project of this magnitude without a thorough check of the facilities we are providing to this substantial increase of inhabitants on Railroad Street? Being proactive will not only avoid costly emergency repairs that cause heartache and stress for all involved, but it will also save the city money in the long run, along with preventing catastrophic failure that may implicate the entire neighborhood. Also, please bear in mind that there are no sidewalks on Railroad Street. Increasing pedestrian flow with no adequate connected walkways may result in devastating accidents involving folks walking up to the main road or park area, as cars constantly speed through here. It is not made clear by the maps provided that this is being addressed, and we are worried that rail trail walkers or park visitors may be guided onto a street with no sidewalks where cars constantly whiz by. Furthermore, allowing traffic to flow both ways on this street seems an absolute recipe for disaster. It appears that residents can turn left or right when exiting the proposed complex, and the street itself has not essentially been widened as stated, it has only been freshly repaved. With no sidewalks to delineate how far cars can pull out, folks exiting out of garages may not only find themselves with vehicular accidents to deal with but also possible property damage. This street should definitely be made to comply with one-way traffic heading towards South Grove Street, with the left-hand driveway of the complex designated as an entrance only, not an exit. This could reduce the possibility of property and vehicle collisions, as the traffic on this street has certainly not slowed down over the years. As previously stated by another resident, we wholeheartedly agree that the proposal as presented will create chaos, tighter congestion on a small street with no sidewalks, and precarious pedestrian/driving scenarios given the nature of the project. We worry further that the plan is to bring more people on foot via the rail trail right into this situation. Please give this your full consideration, as there are many parents and children that frequent the playground area at end of our street. Chaos is the last thing that we need.
January 25, 2021, 12:55 AM
Sandra & Lew Ward
6 / 9 Council Members have viewed this comment
I am very concerned with multiple aspects on this project as well as the site approval process itself. There are serious gaps where this plan does not meet the zoning requirements first and foremost it does not "harmonize" with the neighborhood. A flooding event such as we experienced in May of 2006 would cause this development to become a hazard to its residents, neighbors, first responders, the river itself and anyone downstream. For reference mooring ball washed up on Railroad Street in front of this property during that flood. 81 parking spaces for 48 units is unreasonably small regardless of what zoning says. The streets can not handle the overflow parking. The roads are narrow and in exceeding poor condition. They have not been widened as the applicant has stated. Railroad St was repaved, but already has significant damage. The roads are difficult to navigate when cars are parked on the street as is, this added burden will make the street impassable. With our without a significant increase in residents parking on the street there will be a dramatic increase in traffic caused by a hundred or more cars making multiple trips in and out of the neighborhood. The 2 South Grove St project has already added to the traffic in the neighborhood and I feel the neighborhood is significantly less safe as a result. A new traffic study needs to be completed. The 2016 traffic study is out of date and poorly constructed. No resident that reads that traffic study would find the results of that traffic study reasonable. This whole process has left residents feeling disenfranchised, I feel the coronavirus pandemic is being taken advantage of by the applicant to ram this problematic project through. The applicant has made no efforts to find solutions to issues brought up regarding building height, traffic patterns, parking, environmental protection or demand on utilities. The applicant held two 'meetings' that were run more like info sessions where the applicant made no effort to listen to residents. When residents tried to ask questions they were spoken over or dismissed. The City Council had done a good job at listening to the concerns of residents but the Council must also run the meeting and move on to other topics. Residents are much less familiar with the rules and process of the meetings than the attorney representing the applicant and that is felt by the residents in the meeting. The residents do not feel like there is a "level playing field". Regardless of outcome of this process, residents need to feel heard. It's my opinion that this development will have a negative impact on the community, but I want to live in the best possible version of this community either way. The applicant needs to take more steps to respect the neighbors. The design of a building has psychological effects and I don't think this project is well designed to fit in the neighborhood. The project makes maximal use of narrow roads and over burdened water, sewer, electric and natural gas utilities, and it's residents live in a literal high tower. A resident of the complex will take an elevator down to their car and drive through our roads. They will never meet or know any of the current residents and they will never drive like it's the neighborhood they live in. The proposed Rail Trail 'extension' to the complex would be disjointed. I find it improbable that it will be utilized by the public. The effect is the condo has a rec area that is technically, but not actually, accessible to the public and it's maintenance is funded by the taxpayers. This project will leach resources of the current community, Haverhill should look towards project the builds community. I do not think this project is reasonable, nor does it adhere to the zoning for this area. The applicant claims it does, but those claims must be carefully examined. What is clear is that the project is not good for the community or Haverhill as a whole. I would love to see my community improved, but it needs to be done with reasonable and intelligent planning and design. The applicant takes pride in mentioning that the units are condos for sale and not apartments for rent. The outcome of that is clear, when these problems come to fruition, the applicant will no longer be involved. I urge the City Council to consider the effects on the river, the effects on traffic, the effects on parking, the effects on safety, the best use of tax dollars needed to expand utilities and police the area, and the rights of residents of the neighborhood. Thank you.
January 24, 2021, 11:25 PM
William Gould JR
6 / 9 Council Members have viewed this comment
The Railroad St. project will not be a good addition to the community for a few different reasons. One of my biggest concerns is the overwhelming increase in traffic that will occur. In recent developments of this neighborhood, the traffic has already increased significantly. I consistently see people speeding down Railroad street. There are no clear traffic signs or signals around this area. Railroad St. is considered a narrow street and does not have lines on it. Two cars cannot pass each other at the same time. Another concern I have is the pollution that the new building will add to the Merrimack River. The area has been known for flooding in previous years and would be much more likely to occur with the new construction. Lastly, the due to the planned height of this new construction, there will be a large shadow that will cast directly on to my house and others.
January 24, 2021, 7:47 PM
Kaitlyn Gould
6 / 9 Council Members have viewed this comment
I do not like the idea of more housing there is to much traffic now and it will only get worse the streets are to narrow then there's a rat problem were are they going to go into over basements like the last protect they did on s Grove St.
January 24, 2021, 2:16 PM
Christine Rodriguez
6 / 9 Council Members have viewed this comment
I would ask of the City Council that before approving this project as currently planned that you carefully listen to and take into consideration the concerns of all neighbors. Yes, it is an old run down bldg however, one must consider the great impact this project as currently planned will have on our small neighborhood. Many of us in the neighborhood are already and still feeling the increased speeding traffic impact just from making So. Central a one way. Other issues that must be considered and that will result from this project, again as currently planned are: 1) The City Council must remain involved in the planning reviews and especially the decision-making process. Specifically the neighbors that live next to this site will need your help and representation. 2)As mentioned - There will be a significant increase to traffic on our small streets. Not all "will ride bikes to work" especially during inclement weather and during the winter months 3)Water Pressure - This will impact all - the lines are very old and as planned will most likely not support a new development of this size 4)Gas Line - Most important concern is that the gas line that will most likely feed this development will come from South Kimball Street. The main line on that street “is over 100 years old” and continues to have many leaks. I myself have called in a few. This is MUST be resolved before development even starts issue. There really should be an objective gas, water and traffic study done long before any work is started. And the limits, mitigation plans and fixes must be captured in all documents and purchasing agreements etc and must be fixed BEFORE any development work can be started. 5)It needs to be determined if the proposed site can actually support the size of this development as planned and not have an adverse affect on the river and wildlife. As it stands now, the plans have been withdrawn twice for revisions and should most likely be withdrawn again for additional updates. My last thought is - has this developer looked at the old Box Board site? It seems like there would be more than enough land there...?
January 24, 2021, 2:04 PM
Sandra O'Dea
6 / 9 Council Members have viewed this comment
My concern is that traffic in the area will become too difficult. While I’m not opposed to high rises per se, I do think it takes a bit away from the historic look of the downtown and Bradford area.
January 24, 2021, 7:05 AM
Gabriela Twaalfhoven
6 / 9 Council Members have viewed this comment
In regards to this project not much has changed in the last year since we met with everyone. Yes the project has been reduced by 12 units. 48 units is still far too large for this area. In regards to code 255-165, they shouldn’t qualify for this density bonus. Rehabilitation and rebuilding are two different things. They don’t intend to leave any significant portion of the building. Thus, what they are doing cannot be considered rehabilitation. If they are allowed this who is going to oversee that they actually keep the portions of the building they claim will be kept? I have seen stipulations made during meetings and then left off of the final decision. I have also seen stipulations put on things and the property owners do not abide by them. Once these things are passed the city seems to do nothing to enforce these rules. In regards to code 255-167 item 8 which states that the analysis should include “Traffic counts on arterial streets that provide access to the development site”. The parking study provided that was done 12/9/2016 doesn’t even include the road the proposed project is being built on. Traffic has increased in the 4 years since this traffic study was conducted. In Mr. Magliochetti’s “Brief in support” he states, “It should also be noted that the city of Haverhill has already taken steps to widen Railroad Street, thereby further improving parking and traffic flow”. This is not true, the road was repaved, not widened. If he is speaking about them eventually widening the road down near the Yacht Club that is being done to benefit the Rail Trail and is not within the area of abutters. The road is only 18 feet wide with many large construction vehicles and tractor trailers that frequent the area. In reference to code 255-162 item 10 states “Mitigation shall be provided to create an adequate traffic circulation system in order to insure proper traffic control and to minimize hazards to public health and safety as a result of traffic”. Vehicles of any size have difficulty passing in opposite directions on Railroad St and for larger vehicles it is impossible. The exit of this project presents a danger to my property and my family during the building phase and after the units are sold. Houses in this historic neighborhood are close to the street and the exit points directly at my home. We thought they had fixed this and made that the exit. This presents a real danger of traffic colliding with my home. If a vehicle is coming from Ferry St to Railroad St and a vehicle is exiting that property to fast the vehicle coming down Railroad St could veer away from the car pulling out and hit my property and/or my home. It is an automatic response if something is coming at you to veer away from it. Mr Magliochetti claims that there will be 100% parking, yes that is 100% parking if people only have 1 ½ cars per unit which is unreasonable. The resulting overflow will further restrict traffic on the narrow road. Many neighbors, South Charles St residents as well, are concerned regarding added traffic and vehicles going to fast up South Charles St. This project will add over 100 vehicles just with the residents. Then consideration needs to be taken in regards to deliveries and services all of these residents may have. I believe the land use issue needs to be further looked at by the city as a portion of the land they are using towards this project is in the water. Regarding code 255-158 item 8, this code says “Development should be designed to complement and harmonize with adjacent land uses (existing and proposed) with respect to architecture and scale”. The size of the building is 55 feet in height, the majority of the residential homes around here are 2 stories, what is that about 20-25 feet? How is this harmonizing with the existing buildings that are already here. This building will dwarf the homes around here and will cast a shadow over its neighbors. Do the neighbors have a right to sunlight? Mr Magliochetti has stated the building will be comprised of 1 and 2 bedroom units but did not state how many of each. This can play a big factor in how many added vehicles there are. If they have reduced the amount of units by 20% why has the size/height of the building not changed? I have lived here for 58 years, I was raised here, I raised my family here. It would be better if they had something that would actually harmonize with the neighborhoods current structures as the code says, this building will not. Can these questions be answered? *How many 1 bedroom units and how many 2 bedroom units? *If they have reduced this project by 12 units why is the building still the same size? *Is the front of the building Railroad St, I would think it would be as the physical address is Railroad St. If so that could pose another issue. According to code 255-55.1 Parking and loading areas shall be hidden from view from public ways. Parking lots are not permitted in the front of the building and should be located at the side or rear of a lot or in concealed structures, whenever possible. *Where and how many dumpsters will be located on this property?
January 23, 2021, 9:35 AM
Leslie Gould
6 / 9 Council Members have viewed this comment
Being a Haverhill resident for my whole Slife and a Bradford resident for 46 years I’ve watched the growth and have been on board most of the time. This proposal for Railroad St. is not a great idea. The traffic in this neighborhood has gone off the charts! Cars speeding and racing , and not stopping at side streets , and Salem St. traffic cutting down South Webster St. Is horrendous! Railroad St. Is a narrow street, my uncles each lived right there and it was busy then. Not congested, but residents and visitors. This proposal will bring more traffic,congestion,and chaos to an already crowded area. It should not be allowed!
January 22, 2021, 1:56 PM
Beverly Dumont
6 / 9 Council Members have viewed this comment
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