“I don’t buy your argument that because bad decisions were made in the past, that we should continue that,” Daly O’Brien said. “Seven units is way too dense, there’s not enough parking and there’s no green space.”
A request for a special permit that would have allowed the project to go forward failed by a vote of 4 to 4, with Councilor William Ryan abstaining because he owns property next door. Six votes were required for approval.
Councilor Thomas Sullivan voted in favor and said he disagrees sharply with his colleagues.
“I see this as a neighborhood improvement to a blighted eyesore,” Sullivan said of the proposed apartment complex. “It’s a depressed area that needs some life and improvements.”
Councilor Robert Scatamacchia said he also saw the plan as the best chance to see the property revived.
“If this doesn’t pass, it’s going to be vacant for another 20 years,” Scatamacchia said prior to the vote.
The High Street building is in an inner-city neighborhood the city has targeted for improvements. Mount Washington is one of Haverhill’s oldest sections and has several run down buildings, as well as a problem with street crime. Extra police patrols have been assigned to the neighborhood.