EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

December 6, 2012

Plaistow puts brakes on Panera plan

PLAISTOW — The Planning Board won’t allow Panera Bread to break ground in Stateline Plaza until they figure out their plans for water and sewer.

But Charles Cleary, an attorney for property owner Northstar Centers LLC, believes it is Haverhill’s obligation to provide water and sewer, based on a previous agreement.

“No further authorization is needed from the city of Haverhill to supply water and sewer to structures existing on the New Hampshire premises,” Cleary wrote in a letter to the Planning Board.

The board had previously approved the construction, but had attached several conditions that must be met, including plans for wastewater, air quality and a driveway.

Cleary’s letter points to an agreement made in 2005 between Haverhill and Plaistow Project LLC, an affiliate of Northstar. The agreement states the project has a right to water and sewer services from Haverhill. Because of the agreement, Cleary wrote, no additional evidence is required to meet the mandated condition.

But Planning Board Chairman Steve Ranlett challenged Cleary’s assessment.

“They might have permission for water and sewer, but that isn’t for us to worry about,” Ranlett said. “We aren’t going to let them build and have Haverhill not give them water and sewage.”

Haverhill has not yet signed off on providing water and sewer for the project, because city officials are still determining whether it would make sense for them to do so.

“We don’t have a position on the situation right now,” said David Van Dam, Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini’s chief of staff. “We have to gather all the information we are looking for before making a decision.”

Van Dam said officials are waiting to hear back from the city’s attorneys. The cost of the infrastructure and how the supply would operate are the major issues, he said.

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