Nature abhors a vacuum, and the principle seems to apply to liquor stores in Hudson. Last summer, Fine Wines & Spirits at 40 Green Street was shut down when the New York State Liquor Authority revoked its liquor licence. Now a new liquor store is set to open at 720 Columbia Street. The plans for altering the facade of the building and installing a new sign came before the Historic Preservation Commission on Friday.
Work on the facade had already begun, without a building permit or a certificate of appropriateness, and code enforcement officer Craig Haigh issued a stop work order. The HPC seemed disinclined to grant a certificate of appropriateness to the project. HPC chair Rick Rector spoke of the unauthorized changes that had already been made and called what was proposed "a complete new introduction of materials that are compatible with nothing."
On Friday, the Historic Preservation Commission decided that the application was incomplete because it did not include a historic photograph of the building. It was also noted that the proposed material--a kind of rough-hewn faux stone--was problematic. The applicant was invited to come back next Friday, with a completed application, at which time their proposal for signage would be discussed.
This morning, it appeared that the idea of rough-hewn stone face had been abandoned. Workers were at the site reinstalling the vinyl siding that had been removed. (Haigh indicated on Friday that the vinyl siding that had been there could be put back without a certificate of appropriateness.)
It would seem all that remains for the HPC to consider next Friday is the sign: large individual illuminated red plastic letters spelling out M&M WINE & SPIRITS positioned across the width of the storefront. The sign maker, who accompanied the applicant on Friday, argued that there were other illuminated plastic signs in proximity to this location, citing in particular the gas station just to the west, the sign marking the entrance to the St. Charles Hotel parking lot across the street, the new Speedway signs around the corner, and the Beer World sign farther along on Green Street. HPC member Phil Forman countered, "The fact that there are already garish signs is not an argument for approving another garish sign." He also suggested that the type of signage being proposed "is used to attract people off the road," implying that it was inappropriate in a city setting.
Gossips sources indicate that M&M Wine & Spirits is an enterprise of the same people who recently opened the M&M Mart and Valero gas station on Fairview Avenue in Greenport.
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