Last night, it was standing room only at City Hall as Hudson Urban Gardens (HUG) and Habitat for Humanity presented their proposals to the Hudson Community Development & Planning Agency, represented by executive director Sheena Salvino and three of its five board members (Cappy Pierro, Ohrine Stewart, and Don Tillson; Mayor William Hallenbeck and Lyle Shook were absent). John Mason reports on the meeting in today's Register-Star: "Compromise sought in garden dust-up."
Gossips took Salvino at her word when she said, after the presentations and the brief public comment period, that the meeting would move on to other agenda items. Mason didn't and was there to hear Salvino refer to the people in the community who came out to support the garden as an "excited mob," to hear Tillson (chair of the Planning Commission) use the term "mob mentality" at least twice, and to hear Pierro characterize citizens' desire to be involved in the decisions that affect them as "They love to battle." They must have not realized the press was still in the room.
Late in the brief period set aside for public comment, Victor Mendolia questioned how exhaustive the search for alternative building sites had been and mentioned the lot at the corner of Fourth and State streets, which the City has owned since 1994 and which a year ago the Common Council agreed to sell in order to close a gap in the much touted zero increase 2013 budget. Amazingly, as Mason reports, the HCDPA board seems to have glommed on to that as an alternative site for Habitat's single family passive houses--no matter that the site could more appropriately be used for a more substantial building that would provide affordable housing for more than just three or four families.
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