Friday, March 12, 2010

Hudson Terrace Update

The new roof is finished on the first building, and the new vinyl siding is going up, but the exterior alterations to Hudson Terrace have never been referred to the Historic Preservation Commission for a certificate of appropriateness, even though the southern half the complex is in a locally designated historic district. Here's what's been happening while The Gossips of Rivertown has been (annoyingly) unable to keep you informed.

It took a bit of doing to persuade city legal advisor Cheryl Roberts that the southern half of Hudson Terrace really is in a historic district. One of the problems was that Roberts and the mayor were looking at state and National Register historic districts and the local Warren Street Historic District instead of the relevant one: the locally designated Union-Allen-South Front Street Historic District. Finally, after being provided with the relevant excerpt from the boundary description ("around the lot lines of the Hudson Amtrak station property across Ferry Street and along the western lot lines of the Hudson Terrace Apartments back to the southern boundary line of the Warren Street Historic District at South Front Street and Cherry Alley") and the resolution of the Common Council that created the district, Roberts seemed to be persuaded that the south half of Hudson Terrace is indeed in a historic district, but still, on Tuesday morning, she advised the mayor that a stop work order should not be issued.

On December 8, 2009, when the owners of the Hudson Terrace complex inquired about necessary permits, Code Enforcement Officer Peter Wurster made the determination that replacing the windows with "like windows" and installing new siding "similar to the existing siding" did not constitute the kind of exterior alterations that require a certificate of appropriateness. In Roberts' opinion, Wurster's action did not "appear to rise to the level of irrational, arbitrary, or capricious," which is the standard for overturning a decision made by a city official such as the code enforcement officer.

In spite of the fact that things did not work the way--in my opinion--they were supposed to, things could be worse. The new vinyl siding going up on the first building is a dark mossy green--probably the best color available in vinyl siding. Let's hope they're doing the whole complex in the same color and not making different buildings different colors, the way it was done at Crosswinds on Harry Howard Avenue.

Something to note: According to the signs displayed on the site, the project was made possible by the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal and funded by the American Recovery and Renewal Act.

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