Monday, January 16, 2017

Before They Got to the Haul Road

Before the Planning Board got around to discussing the Colarusso haul road on Thursday night, there were two public hearings and three presentations of new projects. The two public hearings concerned the proposal to open a board game cafe at 757 Columbia and to convert 214-216 Warren Street into a hotel.

At the public hearing for the board game cafe, there were only comments--both of support--from the owner of 757 Columbia Street, where the cafe will be located, and from the owner of a nearby building at 41 Eighth Street, who predicted that the cafe "will help clean up the neighborhood." For those who enjoy a glass of wine while playing Scrabble or a beer while playing Pandemic, Kathleen Miller, the new cafe's owner, told the Planning Board she would be applying for a beer and wine license. Later in the meeting, site plan approval was granted to the cafe.

The second public hearing was about the plan to convert 214-216 Warren Street, the former Savoia, into a hotel. The plans for restoring and renovating the facade of the building were granted a certificate of appropriateness by the Historic Preservation Commission on December 9, but the project still had unresolved parking issues with the Planning Board. To resolve the parking issues, the plans have been altered. Instead of nine rooms, the hotel will have five rooms and two luxury sites. There will be five offstreet parking spaces at the back of the building for the five hotel rooms and two spaces for the suites that will be leased behind 234 Warren Street.

The only comment on this project during the public hearing came from Steve Dunn, who sits on the Zoning Board of Appeals. He expressed the opinion that the project needed to go before the ZBA for a variance because two of the parking spaces would be leased. 

Parking continued to be an issue when the Planning Board took up its discussion of the proposal. Planning Board member Carmine Pierro asked about parking for the lounge, a bar area within the proposed hotel intended primarily for hotel guests, and pointed out that one additional parking space would be required for every three seats in the lounge. Mitch Khosrova, legal counsel to the Planning Board, asked how many seats there were in the lounge and was told there would be eighteen--on an assortment of sofas, ottomans, and wing chairs. He then declared that technically they would need an additional six offstreet parking spaces for the lounge, for a total of eleven. After Planning Board chair Tom DePietro asked if there wasn't a distinction between a lounge and an eating and drinking establishment, Khosrova conceded. "I take that back," he said. "The law says eating and drinking establishments; this will only be drinks and bar snacks." Audience member Walter Chatham pointed out that the proposed "lounge" was essentially a lobby bar for hotel occupants, for whom parking had already been provided.

In the end, the Planning Board granted site plan approval for the hotel. The irony is that this project, which modified its design to comply with the offstreet parking requirements in the City's zoning code, now wants to eliminate some onstreet parking spots by having a loading zone, such as The Barlow has, which eliminated two parking spaces in the 500 block of Warren Street. It was determined that a loading zone was not something that the Planning Board could approve nor could the ZBA. Former police commissioner Gary Graziano, who was in the audience, told the board that loading zones were in the purview of the police commissioner.

The first of the three new applications was for 886 Columbia Street, characterized as the "ugly yellow brick mansion." 

Photo: googlemaps
The house, once known as the Dinehart mansion, was built soon after 1910, when the house shown at the right, once the home of Augustus and Ellen McKinstry, was demolished. Since 1958, when the Rip Van Winkle Foundation purchased it to expand its clinic, the yellow brick mansion has had a variety of uses--none of them being as a single family home. Not long ago, it was a funeral home. The plan now being proposed is to convert the building into six medical office suites, adding an elevator at the back of the building and expanding the parking lot to forty-seven spaces. The renderings shown to the Planning Board suggest that the plans for the exterior also involve charcoal gray paint.

The Planning Board will hold a public hearing on this project at its next meeting, which takes place on Thursday, February 9. Since this building in not located in a historic district, no certificate of appropriateness is required from the Historic Preservation Commission for exterior alterations.

The next of the new applications is a familiar one to Gossips readers: the plan to build a block of four town houses on the west side of Hudson Avenue.

Almost a year has passed--ten months to be exact--since this proposal was first presented to the Planning Board in March 2016. During that time, because half the site of the proposed buildings is zoned R-3 (residential) and the other half I-1 (industrial) and residential dwellings are the only thing that cannot be built in an industrial zone, the project went before the ZBA, which denied it an area variance, and then to the Common Council, which, after no small amount of controversy, passed a resolution in November 2016 to amend the zoning to allow the construction of these four houses. Now, finally, the project is back before the Planning Board. The public hearing on the proposal will take place at the Planning Board's next meeting on February 9.

The final new project was the plan for the restoration and adaptive reuse of the Allen Street School, 34 Allen Street. The building, which was designed by Hudson architect Michael O'Connor, was constructed 1903. It ceased being used as a school building in late 1960s. The first floor of the building was converted into a dress factory and the staircases to the second floor were removed. Since the early 1990s, the building has stood vacant.

Photo courtesy Historic Hudson

Photo: googlesmaps
What is being proposed is a private gallery on the first floor, studio spaces, and one short-term residential unit for an artist-in-residency program. The project involves a full renovation of the interior of the building, preserving all the original components and re-creating the original configuration. The main entrance to the building, which has been bricked up, will be restored, and the original doors reinstalled. The windows are being repaired, retaining as much original material as possible, the roof will be repaired, and the chimney repointed. The portico will be restored, although there are no plans to re-create the balustrade at the top of the portico. Of particular interest to the Planning Board, there will be six parking spaces at the rear of the building.

The project was presented to the Historic Preservation Commission on January 13 and granted a certificate of appropriateness. The Planning Board will hold a public hearing on the project on February 9.

A Thought for Martin Luther King Day

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday in the Park

Seventh Street Park was filled with people this afternoon who had come out to rally to show their support for saving the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and Medicare.
The rally, which was organized by a team of Columbia County Democrats, was one of many rallies occurring nationwide at the urging of senators Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders. A series of speakers exhorted those present to stand up and speak out to protect access to healthcare and send a message to Congressman John Faso that in his zeal to repeal the Affordable Care Act he is not acting in accordance with the desires or interests of the people of Columbia County.

Addendum: In addition to the New York Times (link provided above), the Huffington Post has an article about the rally in Warren, Michigan, where Bernie Sanders, Chuck Schumer, the two senators from Michigan, and other members of Congress addressed a crowd of thousands in below-freezing weather: "Democrats Lead Nationwide Day of Rallies in Defense of Obamacare." The article includes photographs from a few of the seventy rallies that took place across the country. Sadly, the gathering here in Hudson was not one of them.

The Planning Board and the Haul Road

Thursday night's Planning Board meeting went on for more than two hours, before a standing-room-only crowd. What almost everyone was there to witness and possibly be part of was the discussion of the Colarusso haul road, which was the last item on the agenda. 

The Planning Board is in the process of gathering information to be considered in its review of the proposed haul road, and, to this end, Tom DePietro, who chairs the Planning Board, asked audience members to "limit what you say to what you consider new information." As it happened, no one in the audience made a statement that evening, although some written comments were submitted. DePietro also announced that all documents relating to the proposed project, including written comments received by the Planning Board, were available at City Hall and could be viewed without submitting a FOIL request. He encouraged any member of the Planning Board who had not already traveled to the site to arrange for a site visit with J. R. Heffner, a vice president at Colarusso in charge of the dock operations.

When DePietro asked if members of the Planning Board had comments about the proposed project, Clark Wieman, a new appointee to the board, referred to a five-page report he had written after he had visited the site. He asked how the project would affect the waterfront and if increased activity at the dock would comport with the vision for the waterfront. He expressed concern about the impact of the haul road and the dock "on the rest of what is happening in Hudson." He maintained that the either-or of trucks on Hudson streets or trucks on the proposed haul road was a "false choice," suggesting that there were other alternatives that were not being explored.

Planning Board member Carmine Pierro posited that 1,500 to 2,000 people live on the truck route, comparing that with the haul road, which "goes by only one business in Hudson." He dismissed the use of the railroad--the spur that goes through the city to the ADM facility in Greenport--and a conveyor from the quarry to the dock as options that no one wants and told Wieman, "To try to say there are more choices, I don't know what they are." Echoing something said by Art Koweek back in 1984, Pierro declared, "It's a working dock. It's going to stay a working dock." He then invoked environmental justice and the wear and tear on our city streets as reasons to support the haul road. When someone in the audience uttered a scatological assessment of his assertions, Pierro reacted sharply. Somewhat later in the proceedings, another reaction from the audience prompted DePietro to declare that outbursts would not be tolerated. 

Ray Jurkowski, the engineer who is consulting with the Planning Board on this project, reviewed the process and explained where things currently stand. The SEQR process comes first. For this, the Greenport Planning Board has been named lead agency. After SEQR, both planning boards do their own site plan review on the portion of the haul road within their boundaries. The Greenport Planning Board has not declared the application complete and has requested "a more in-depth project narrative"--one that provides more history and more information about environmental impacts. He noted that written comments submitted to the Hudson Planning Board will be forwarded to the Greenport Planning Board, the lead agency in the SEQR process.

One of the unanswered questions has been the number of trucks that would use the haul road. Prendergast told the board that on a busy day, there would be 140 loaded trucks for a total of 280 trips. He also mentioned 6,000 trucks a year, which included trucks coming from the south to the quarry to buy stone and asphalt. It was acknowledged that recycled asphalt is now coming to the dock on barges and is then is loaded on trucks and carried from the dock to Colarusso headquarters on Newman Road.  

Prendergast attested, "No part of this is a proposed expansion. I see this as a win-win for the communities." He acknowledged that the haul road was a "little bit of a shortcut" for trucks traveling from the quarry to the dock. When Planning Board member Laura Margolis took issue with the characterization of the haul road as a "little bit of a shortcut," maintaining that it was a substantial shortcut, Colarusso's attorney, John Privitera stepped in. "We are not going to be defensive," he declared. "We firmly believe this is a public benefit project, and it's been planned for that purpose." He quoted the letter from the DEC which indicated that the purpose of the haul road was in part "to route Hudson River dock truck traffic . . . off of City of Hudson streets." He acknowledged that the proposed haul road was "in part a matter of convenience" but asserted it was "in large part in respect to Comprehensive Plan that this city adopted," and "the one of the greatest aspirations of that plan" was to get trucks off Columbia Street.

Privitera then launched into a litany of things the Planning Board and the City of Hudson could not do. They could not regulate mining, nor could they regulate the amount of business Colarusso does or the size of the business. DePietro interrupted him to say, "We don't need that lecture." When Mitch Khosrova, legal counsel to the Planning Board, told Privitera, "The City of Hudson believes we can regulate the dock," Privitera shot back, "The Town of Greenport has already said twice that the dock is not part of this proceeding." He went on to assert, "We have a constitutional right to use the dock that precedes zoning."

At one point, after several exchanges between Khosrova and Privitera, Margolis told Privitera, whose attitude was confrontational, that he was making her nervous. It was then revealed what the burr under his saddle was. Khosrova, as a matter of course, has been forwarding all written public comment to the Greenport Planning Board and apparently also to Privitera, as counsel for Colarusso. One of those items was, according to Privitera, an unsigned, anonymous letter that "calls everybody names" and "says the Army Corps of Engineers doesn't know what it's doing." It turns out that the letter was written by a frequent commenter on Gossips on behalf of an ad hoc citizens group. When DePietro and Khosrova received the letter, because it came as a email message, they knew who the author was and did not consider it an anonymous letter. Privitera, however, did and was highly offended that he was "expected to respond to an unsigned and insulting letter."

Some interesting new information came to light at the Planning Board meeting. Khosrova said he has been in correspondence with a representative of Amtrak which has led him to believe that exploring a truck crossing over the railroad at the western end of the haul road "is worth a discussion." Such a crossing would eliminate trucks leaving the haul road and traveling north on Front Street to the Broad Street crossing. J. R. Heffner pointed out that currently Colarusso trucks travel over two miles of Hudson streets, but with the new proposal, they will only use 700 to 800 feet of city streets. He also estimated that 30 to 40 percent of the truck traffic in Hudson was associated with Colarusso.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Haul Road and the DOT

On Thursday, Pat Prendergast, engineer for A. Colarusso & Sons, indicated that the NYS Department of Transportation had granted the project the needed permits. Those permits have to do with the points where the haul road would cross Route 9 and Route 9G and are the topic of an article that appeared today in the Register-Star: "DOT approves Colarusso haul road permit."

Listen to the Meeting

An audio recording of the January 12 Planning Board meeting, which went on for two hours, is now available here on the WGXC website. The discussion of the Colarusso haul road begins around 1:02.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Register-Star on the Haul Road

Although those involved and those closely following the review process of the proposed Colarusso haul road are still waiting for a definitive answer from Colarusso about the number of trucks that would be using the haul road, the Register-Star seems to have found it and put it in a headline: "Study: Proposed haul road could see trucks crossing every 3 minutes." Although the headline suggests the report may be about some new study, it turns out that it is based on the Project Narrative submitted in December 2016 by Pat Prendergast, which has been available for weeks on the City of Hudson website.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

News of Significant Interest

The Conservation Advisory Council has its own website, and on that website can now be found a preliminary report by Randall + West, the consultants who have been hired (with grant money) to assist the CAC in doing an open space and natural resources inventory of Hudson. The following excerpt from the report describes the tasks they will undertake:
Randall + West will prepare a graphically enhanced Open Space and Natural Resources Inventory based on conservation and land use planning principles, along with written Conservation Planning Guidelines and an ArcGIS Story Map website. The more informed the community is about the Guidelines, and the more accessible and digestible those planning recommendations are, the more likely the inventory will become a key component in driving development and conservation decisions, especially by local boards and municipal officials. 
The objectives of the Open Space and Natural Resources Inventory and accompanying Conservation Planning Guidelines are to:
• Engage the Hudson community in thinking about and working towards conservation goals;
• Provide the Conservation Advisory Council a publicly accessible online Natural Resources Inventory that identifies and describes prioritization areas for conservation and development consistent with ongoing climate adaptation and resilience efforts;
• Recommend local planning, zoning, environmental quality review, and other policy updates in the Conservation Planning Guidelines; and
• Distribute and present these materials in a manner that promotes greater coordination between municipal boards and agencies and that supports the goal of improved City procedures, plans, and policies in concert with the September 2015 Hofstra Report
The Hofstra Report, the product of a study undertaken in the spring of 2015 by eight students from Hofstra Law School, with their professor, Ashira Ostrow, and Eric Lane, dean of the law school, is best remembered for its suggestion that Hudson's weighted voting system was unconstitutional and its recommendation that the City reconsider its apportionment plan, but Weighted Voting was just one of four topics taken up by the study. Another was Conservation Efforts, and it is this section of the report that is referenced by Randall + West. Gossips' comments on what the Hofstra students had to say about conservation can be read here. The entire Hofstra Report is on the City of Hudson website and can be accessed here. 

Meeting Reminder

The Hudson Planning Board meets today at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall. Gossips' preview of tonight's meeting is available here. The official agenda for the meeting can be viewed here. After two public hearings, discussion of organizational and procedural matters, consideration of the projects that were the subject of the public hearings, and the presentation of three new projects, the "Project Narrative" for the Colarusso haul road is expected to be discussed and comments from the public entertained.

Some Thoughts for Today

Photo: Darron Birgenheier|Flickr|Creative Commons
62,979,636 Americans voted for Donald Trump.
65,844,954 Americans voted for Hillary Clinton.
More than 90 million Americans didn't vote at all.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Watch for Yourself

Gossips has already reported--in four parts--the highlights of the Common Council organizational meeting and informal meeting that took place on Monday night. Now, Dan Udell's video of the back-to-back meetings is available for viewing on YouTube.


Pursuing an Obsession

We've seen evidence that the editor of the Hudson Daily Star was obsessed in 1851 with house numbers--or rather the lack of same--and Gossips has inherited that obsession. Several weeks ago, we published an item, which appeared in the Daily Star in May 1851, recounting the woes of gentleman contemplating a visit to Hudson who was discouraged by the arcane directions he'd been given to his destination and of servant girl from New York who had gotten lost trying to find the house she sought. 

Yesterday, our curiosity was piqued by this little item, which appeared in the Daily Star on August 4, 1851.

To my knowledge, houses were not renumbered in Hudson until 1888. What exactly did this 1851 ordinance do? 

The desire to know the answer sent me to City Hall to have a look at the Common Council minutes for 1851. The outcome was less than completely satisfying. The minutes for the Council meeting that took place on July 29, 1851, state: "Ald. McArthur presented an 'Ordinance for the numbering of Warren Street' which was read and passed." The text of the ordinance is not in included in the minutes.

At a special meeting of the Common Council, which took place the following week on August 6, the minutes report: "Ald. McArthur moved that the Ordinance for the numbering of Warren St. be so amended as to read 'An Ordinance for the numbering of the houses and lots in this City' which amendment was passed."

Still no text is given for the ordinance, but the search continues.

As an aside, in 1851, there were but two wards in Hudson: the First Ward and the Second Ward. Presumably, the First Ward was everything south of Warren Street, and the Second Ward was everything to the north. Alderman Abner H. McArthur represented the First Ward.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Last Night's Informal Council Meeting: Part 3

Among the things of interest at last night's informal Common Council meeting, not already discussed in Part 1 and Part 2 of this report, was a proposal by Alderman Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward) that the Council pass a resolution declaring Hudson to be a sanctuary city. In advocating for this, she read the following statement:
The Hudson Common Council supports all residents, workers, and visitors regardless of immigration status. The Council has passed resolutions supporting immigrants and encouraging state and federal action. We will continue to embrace initiatives that support diversity.
The Hudson Police Department provides an essential service, ensuring our safety. The HPD should prioritize tasks to create a safe environment for all of our residents, while building trust with the community. 
Immigration enforcement does not improve our city or make the city more safe and would likely distract from other priorities. Immigration enforcement can be costly--there are costs of officers, detention, and transportation as well as the loss of contributions from people detained and deported. The threat of deportation or prosecution for no reason other than immigration status may discourage residents without legal immigration status or who have family members or friends without legal immigration status from reporting crimes or injuries, cooperating in investigations, seeking opportunities for the children living in this community, or summoning help when needed.
The Council will be discussing recommendations to optimize law enforcement policy to focus on safety concerns. At the next Legal Committee meeting we will discuss the recommendations in more detail. We encourage all Council members and members of the public to attend.
Several members of the audience, including Michael Chameides, chair of the Hudson City Democratic Committee, expressed support for such an action. The Legal Committee meeting at which the resolution will be discussed will take place on Wednesday, January 25, at 6:15 p.m.

Alderman Rick Rector (First Ward) asked about the status of the lodging tax and was told by Heather Campbell, the city treasurer, that there was no system in place to track and collect the tax and that the system required would have to be far more sophisticated than anything that the City has in place now for collecting taxes. Alderman John Friedman (Third Ward) expressed his opinion that the implementation of the tax was the responsibility of the executive branch to figure out. He suggested that, even though Governor Andrew Cuomo had not signed the enabling legislation until the end of November, the State Senate and Assembly had approved it at the end of June, and the executive branch should have started at that time creating the infrastructure necessary to collect the tax.

Rector also expressed his frustration with the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. After recounting the history, as he understood it, of the LWRP over the past ten years, he asked, rhetorically, "Where do we stand as a community?" He went on to say, "A revision could take years, because the original one took years." (The City recently received a $45,000 grant from the Department of State to update the 2011 LWRP "to address climate change and sea level rise, as well as current planning and potential new projects.")

Audience member Linda Mussmann, who chaired the Waterfront Advisory Steering Committee when the 2011 LWRP was drafted, suggested that the City impose a one-year moratorium on waterfront development and set a one-year deadline for revising the LWRP. (A one-year moratorium on all development within the Waterfront Revitalization Area was enacted in 2006, when work on the 2011 LWRP began.) She expressed the opinion that "it would be very fair to Colarusso to stop [work on the haul road] for one year."

Don Moore, who was the president of the Common Council when the LWRP was adopted in 2011, said, "The causeway was a central issue when the LWRP went to Albany." He then asked his own rhetoric question: "How does the haul road get integrated into the overall plan?" He went on to say that the land transfer needed to be in place before the Department of State would review the LWRP, and the transfer never happened. The land transfer Moore cited is explained on page 132 of the LWRP: "Holcim has indicated it has no plans to use the 7 acres of land south of the port and may be amenable to entering into an agreement with the City whereby the company would grant to the City title or some form of title to the approximately 7 acres south of the port and transfer its holdings in the South Bay, subject to a right-of-way over the causeway, to a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) or the City. At this time, the company has indicated it has no plans to sell or provide an option on the approximately 7 acres adjacent to the port."

The City's negotiations with Holcim in 2013 for those seven acres, which ended up being close to ten acres, were protracted by a controversy over whether or not Standard Oil had ever owned part of that stretch of waterfront and complicated by the Valley Alliance discovering and producing evidence that the City of Hudson already owned most of what it was trying to get back from Holcim because the waterfront land had been illegally transferred to Holcim's predecessor, St. Lawrence Cement, back in 1981. It has since been revealed that negotiations with Holcim for the transfer of that land broke down in April 2013 because Holcim was getting ready to sell its holdings in Hudson and Greenport to A. Colarusso & Sons, which bought the property at the beginning of 2015, and Colarusso did not want to give up that waterfront land. It also came to light last spring that, according to the Department of State, the LWRP had never been officially submitted for review in 2011, and they were unwilling to review it now because it was a five-year-old document.

In the meantime, the 2011 LWRP, which was adopted by the Common Council, thus enacting its zoning provisions, could have brought a number of alterations that have already been made to the haul road and the dock before to Planning Board for review if the right people had been paying attention.

Last Night's Informal Council Meeting: Part 2

At last night's informal Common Council meeting, Council president Claudia DeStefano reminded the aldermen that funds had been included in the 2017 budget for legal counsel for the Council. DeStefano said she had met with Andy Howard and invited comment from the aldermen about the possibility of appointing him as legal adviser to the Council. Alderman Rick Rector (First Ward) asked what Howard's current responsibilities were and was told by DeStefano that he was legal counsel to some other municipalities in Columbia County. Alderman John Friedman (Third Ward) asked, "Is Greenport one of them?" DeStefano told him no.

Andrew Howard
The whole question of counsel for the Council has some history, as does Andy Howard's connection with it. The issue of the Common Council needing its own attorney first came up in 2006, when a new mayor (Dick Tracy) and several new aldermen took office. Prior to that, legislative initiatives tended to originate with the mayor, and the Council's role was basically to approve or deny those initiatives. In that situation, having a single city attorney, who served at the pleasure of the mayor, worked perfectly well. But in 2006, the Council had its own robust and diverse legislative agenda. Crafting legislation to carry out their initiatives required the advice of legal counsel. At the time, it was believed that a referendum was required to retain counsel for the Council. So, in November 2006, there was a referendum, and it failed. 

Daniel Tuczinski
The issue came up again at the beginning of 2015, when Mayor William Hallenbeck did not reappoint Dan Tuczinski as assistant city attorney but appointed Andy Howard in his place. At the time, Friedman, who then chaired the Legal Committee, told the mayor at a Council meeting, "You fired a qualified person for a political reason. . . . You fired Dan Tuczinski because you wanted to hire someone who worked in the county attorney's office." Hallenbeck, in an interview on WGXC, claimed that his positions were "not being represented properly" by Tuczinski and that Tuczinski was "accommodating" the Council's efforts. In January 2015, after considerable discussion, during which Hallenback maintained that having legal counsel for the Councill required a referendum because it diminished the power of the mayor, the Council passed a resolution to reallocate $15,000 to pay a legal adviser for the Common Council. [All members of the Council voted in support of the resolution except Robert Donahue (Fifth Ward), who voted no, and Abdus Miah (Second Ward), who abstained.] Although the city attorney Carl Whitbeck offered the opinion that having a separate legal adviser for the Common Counsel did not violate the city charter, Hallenbeck vetoed the resolution, on the basis that it did. Unfortunately, in February 2015, when the resolution to override the veto was presented to the Council, two key aldermen were absent, and Council president Don Moore decided not to call for a vote. As a consequence, the veto stood.

This year, the money is in the budget, the mayor and the city attorney seem to agree that having legal counsel for the Council is allowed by the charter, and all that remains is for the attorney who will counsel the Council to be determined.

Last Night's Informal Council Meeting: Part 1

After the organizational meeting was adjourned last night, Council president Claudia DeStefano opened the informal meeting for January. The first order of business was a communication, in the form of the map below, from the Hudson City School District.

The map, which is difficult to comprehend even when seen at full size, shows the land--a total of 1.2 acres--currently owned by the City of Hudson that HCSD wants conveyed to the school district. 

George Keeler, buildings and grounds superintendent for HCSD, spoke of the proposed acquisition as a "swap." When asked by Alderman John Friedman (Third Ward) what the City got in the swap, Keeler explained that the Youth Department and HCSD had a "shared services agreement": the Youth Department uses school facilities--gyms, soccer fields, etc.--without paying the usual rental fees. "Currently," said Keeler, "we're ahead of you on the swap," intimating that the City owed HCSD $4,500, since that is the value being placed on the parcel of land. Friedman said of the shared services agreement, "Sounds like an ongoing relationship that is netting itself out over time." When Keeler avouched that the land had been appraised at $5,500, Friedman countered, "I'll give the City $6,000 for it."

Alderman Michael O'Hara (First Ward) requested that streets and buildings be superimposed on the map to make it comprehensible. DeStefano referred the matter to the Legal Committee, which is chaired by O'Hara.