EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 17, 2012

Council declines to hear plan for home near reservoir

Members want more information for Conservation Commission review

By Shawn Regan sregan@eagletribune.com
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — HAVERHILL — City Council declined to hear a proposal last night from a man who wants to build a home across from the city’s main water supply until he provides more information to the Conservation Commission for a review of his plans.

John Giordano needs special approval from the council because his 4-acre property at 90 Amesbury Road is within 500 feet of Kenoza Lake reservoir.

The council denied Giordano’s application for a special permit for the development in August 2011, but a Land Court judge recently ordered the city to reconsider the proposal. The court ruling said the council should not have rejected the plan without first receiving a recommendation from the city’s Conservation Commission.

The commission reviewed the proposal earlier this month, but concluded Giordano did not give them enough information to make a recommendation or set conditions to safeguard the water supply. “Most notably, the applicant has not submitted a present-day hydrological analysis identifying the direction of groundwater flow during assumed drought conditions in Kenoza Lake,” the commission’s report on the proposal said, in part. “The commission does not feel this project can be appropriately conditioned for approval at this time.”

Last night, Giordano’s lawyer said he was prepared to answer questions about “drought conditions” and pushed for a hearing and vote. Councilors refused, however. They said Giordano needs to provide the information to the Conservation Commission, which will then advise the council on potential impacts to the water supply from the development.

The Conservation Commission is now expected to review the proposal again Oct. 25. The council will then take it up at its Oct. 30 meeting. The Land Court has given the council until Nov. 2 to hold a hearing and issue a new decision.

City officials said Giordano has told them he wants to build a single-family home on the property, but that in the past he has also talked about other uses for the property, including a horse stable or fruit-and-vegetable stand.

Although Giordano has said he intends to build a residential structure if he receives a permit, he is not bound to use his land for that purpose.

Councilor William Macek said that’s a big concern.

“If this goes forward, I’d like to see any approval conditioned on the land being used only for a single-family home,” Macek said. “No livestock, no farming.”

According to city tax records, Giordano bought the property in 2006 for $7,500. It is assessed for $15,000.