Wednesday, April 30, 2014

"I've Got to Admit It's Getting Better": Part 4

The 1965 Comprehensive Development Plan, which divided the entire riverfront into four sections, divided South Bay into two: South Bay Inland and South Waterfront. Today we look at the analysis and recommendations for South Bay Inland--everything east of the railroad tracks to Third Street.

The colors on the map indicate that in 1965 the entire area was proposed to be industrial (purple) with a little bit of "Wholesale-Storage" (brown) around the edges.
South Bay Inland
South Bay inland has a multitude of problems, most of which can be solved: vehicles cannot reach this part of the City without travelling through the central plateau of the City; the railroad station area is uninviting and has no organized parking facilities; dilapidated residences are mixed with old and deteriorating factories and warehouses, sewage outlets and vacant land; streets are, basically, non-existent; vehicles drive wherever the ground is firm, and do not travel where there is swamp.
Throughout the South Bay area, both west and east of the New York Central tracks, land ownership records are unclear. Mapped roads simply trail off and eventually disappear, so that the extent of public rights-of-way is in doubt. Ownership of all these lands needs clarification.
Proposals. The whole of South Bay between the New York Central Railroad and Third Street is potentially suitable for industrial and wholesale uses. However, an access road is necessary for any development. The proposed road (see the Plan for Roads and Traffic Circulation) follows, in large part, a route already used by vehicles and is presently dry enough to support heavy vehicular traffic. It is proposed that this new road begin directly across Third Street from the proposed major east-west road and terminate at an extension of South Front Street. South Front Street, in turn, would have a uniform right-of-way width of 50 feet.
As much of South Bay as possible should be reclaimed. As the Bay is reputed to have a "bad bottom," an engineering study would be required to determine precisely where fill should be dumped to be most effective for land reclamation (or, in this case, land creation) purposes.
North of the proposed access road, however, almost all the land is presently usable and much of it--particularly the dry triangle directly south of Cross Street-Tanners Lane--is vacant. This should be considered prime land for industrial, wholesale or heavy commercial uses, being located adjacent to both railroad spurs and highways.
The needs of the railroad station at the present time are few. With the recent cessation of commuter service to Albany, only a sparse dozen trains stop daily in Hudson, and parking needs can be satisfied by the creation of a few dozen spaces in the area on the west side of Front Street, both north and south of the station proper.
Residential uses do not belong in either the North Bay or South Bay areas because of the presence of incompatible industrial uses.
The last paragraph should be of interest to the current residents of Cross Street and Tanners Lane.

In 2014, we still live with the problem of there being no access to the waterfront "without traveling through the central plateau of the City." In 1965, the concern was getting vehicles to the proposed "industrial, wholesale and heavy commercial uses." In 2014, besides the unwelcome but grudgingly tolerated need for gravel trucks to access the port, the issue is getting people to the train station, now no longer "uninviting" and with lots of "organized parking," as well as to Basilica Hudson and Henry Hudson Riverfront Park, and getting vehicles with boats in tow to the boat launch without having to travel through the "central plateau."



  1. We should be sure to note the "access road" referred to here is what we know as the L&B road and not what has been turned into "the causeway "

  2. Exactly, Windle. Thanks.

    And the South Bay "access road" proposed in 1965 remains a viable proposal today. Despite broad support for the route during the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program planning, its intentional omission from the LWRP only managed to underline its obviousness.

    It may take decades for the "L&B pubic road alternative" to be realized, but it's as compelling now as it was in 1965: "a route already used by vehicles ... presently dry enough to support heavy vehicular traffic."

    Here's why I say "decades." Compare what actually transpired during our LWRP process with what a more responsible community might have done.

    The Common Council deemed itself "Lead Agency" for the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the LWRP - the job of an EIS being the study of potentially adverse environmental impacts in any planned action.

    But in Hudson, our EIS was planned out, or "scoped," without any Lead Agency members present. The scoping actually took place in the office of Mayor Scalera, who had no role in the EIS process.

    For further evidence of Mr. Scalera's usurpation of the EIS - or is it more accurate to blame the council for its surrender? - it was thanks to Mayor Scalera's claim that he'd personally phoned the owners of L&B about the public access road that the idea died on the vine.

    Mr. Scalera claimed he was quoted a too-high price for the land, after which most residents and the council itself quickly abandoned the idea (even to the point where this alternative never made it into the final EIS, yet absurd alternatives were included).

    This is not ancient history; the EIS was finalized about two and a half years ago.

    Now in a normal community where the Lead Agency behaved like a Lead Agency, its members would have arrived at their own figures with L&B. A normal community would have approached the then-failing company and offered a lease agreement, perhaps after ordering an appraisal for the lease of a right of way from a qualified appraiser.

    What happens in Hudson? A sweetheart deal for a local mining interest is struck in the mayor's office with none of the required officials in attendance. This is followed by false assurances which the public knows to be false, and afterwards everything corroborates the public's suspicion right down to the present day.

    The story of this city's fecklessness and dishonesty deserves to be told over and over and over again. You may be sick of hearing it, but I'll keep telling it until all of the bums are gone.

    1. Oops, "public." I've always anticipated that typo, and now my waiting is over.

  3. One year after City "industrial developers" came up with their plan the National Historic Preservation Act became law:

    (1) use measures, including financial and technical assistance, to foster conditions under which our modern society and our prehistoric and historic resources can exist in productive harmony and fulfill the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations;

    (2) provide leadership in the preservation of the prehistoric and historic resources of the United States and of the international community of nations and in the administration of the national preservation program in partnership with States, Indian tribes, Native Hawaiians, and local governments;

    (3) administer federally owned, administered, or controlled prehistoric and historic resources in a spirit of stewardship for the inspiration and benefit of present and future generations;

    (4) contribute to the preservation of nonfederally owned prehistoric and historic resources and give maximum encouragement to organizations and individuals undertaking preservation by private means;

    (5) encourage the public and private preservation and utilization of all usable elements of the Nation's historic built environment; and

    (6) assist State and local governments, Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations and the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States to expand and accelerate their historic preservation programs and activities...

    Any new pavement the City places above the high water mark should; "promote Navigation, for fishing, hunting and recreation, to the fullest extent possible".

    The City Council of Hudson on the Hudson, denies its citizens the prehistoric use of shore.

    Either decriminalize fishing/hunting or decriminalize dueling...


  4. As I said above, a normal community would have ordered an appraisal for the lease of a right of way from a qualified appraiser.

    In today's Register Star, the city's grant-writer Bill Roehr is quoted as saying "it’s important for the city to spend a little money getting good, firm numbers."

    That the same reasoning didn't apply during the LWRP planning is just more evidence that the city put Holcim's interests first throughout the waterfront planning.

    Among those most contemptuous of the public interest, some of the same officials remain in office today.

    These individuals should desist from further meddling with our waterfront, except that they are blind to their own radioactivity.

  5. When the City of Hudson accepted Urban Renewal grants for the water treatment plant, they had to accommodate the prehistoric and historical use, "for future generations".

  6. Good news from the waterfront! Vertical restraints, like the ones at Murder's Creek, are being installed at the State boat launch site!

    Better late than never.

    1. That would be Dave Stupplebeen's work.

      Some of us Furgarians phoned the state last year to complain that only half a dock created some serious safety issues whenever visitors to the city would mistakenly use it as a berth.

      Seriously, people would tie up and just walk away! Other boaters would return in the evening to a traffic jam. With no dockage available, there was no way for anyone to get their boats out of the water!

      Dave said his son uses the Hudson launch and he completely understood the situation, but the state just couldn't get to the project last fall.

      So we must remember to thank him, and also to thank the Furgarians for keeping on top of a dangerous situation which the city (read: Harbor Master) probably never even knew about.

  7. Moore taxes will solve everything.

    Now, if the State would remove the Power Boat's floating fence that blocks the State bulkhead, the Half Moon, Spirit and TJ would had a place to pick up an discharge their customers...