Shawn Regan | Eagle-Tribune

HAVERHILL — The city is positioning the long dormant Ornstein Heel property as the catalyst for a potential residential building boom on the Bradford side of the Merrimack River. City Council recently approved a new waterfront zone giving it less oversight of proposals along the river, making it is easier and potentially more profitable for developers to build projects.

The council retained its authority to review proposals in the waterfront zone, but it can’t reject ones that adhere to new rules aimed at encouraging specific uses and requiring public access to the riverfront. But now, Mayor James Fiorentini wants to give back the council control of the city-owned Ornstein Heel property.

Economic Development Director William Pillsbury said the change back would potentially allow the city to receive more money from the state if the city decides to create a special “transit-oriented” housing development district on the Bradford side of the river. {….}