Friday, January 27, 2017

The City Awakes

Earlier this afternoon, Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton issued the following statement regarding the work on the dock recently completed by A. Colarusso & Sons:
As many residents have expressed concerns regarding past, current and contemplated activity at the waterfront, I feel it is important to share that Code Enforcement issued an Order to Remedy to A Colarusso and Son earlier this week. The specific violation cited is as follows: “Replacement of concrete and wood bulkhead with a steel bulkhead on loading dock without approval from the City of Hudson Planning Board as per Section 325-17.1(D) City of Hudson Code.”
Per the OTR, this violation must be remedied as follows: “Submit a City of Hudson Planning Application to the City of Hudson Code Enforcement Office to appear at the planning board meeting no later than the March 9, 2017 meeting.  All planning applications have to be submitted to the city code office 10 days prior to the meeting.”
Notwithstanding the fact that the order to remedy was sent for the bulkhead, it is the City's hope that we work with Colarusso in a holistic manner and continue in the process related to the causeway and dock operations in a cooperative manner that will be beneficial to both the company and the citizens of the City.


  1. Glad to see the City enforcing our zoning code, and appreciate the Mayor communicating with residents of Hudson. But still wondering why Colarusso has been allowed to widen the causeway thru South Bay without proper permits?

  2. This is good leadership, which should not be too upsetting or surprising for the Colarusso company. They have a spokesman who's always saying the company wishes to be law abiding, and so here we are.

    To find a readily available "holistic" model with which to balance so many interests, look no further than the City's Zoning Code.

    When the zoning was amended in 2011, which aimed to represent a mixed-use waterfront, everyone compromised to achieve the final result.

    Of course, those zoning changes reflected the ideas of a previous owner of the port and the South Bay, but that shouldn't distract anyone from the reality that the only way forward for all parties is to strive to maintain the informed balance of the Code.

    The Zoning Code is our template for cooperation. We're glad to see it consulted every now and again.

  3. I'm glad that the City has stepped up to the plate and is trying to ensure that our hard fought Zoning laws are enforced. I appreciate the citizens who have spoken up and trust that the City will stick to its guns. We have a Mayor who is trying to balance things, that's good.

  4. While I am encouraged that the City is beginning to take appropriate action regarding Colarusso's unpermitted construction activity at the dock, it seems that calling one type of construction a "violation" while allowing other construction actions to remain without censure rather arbitrary. The paving and widening of the East Causeway and the construction of the stone revetment by Colarusso are essentially "equal" violations. There cannot be two standards. It is not much to ask that all applicants, be they individuals or corporations, face the same type of scrutiny before the law. If we are to have a balanced and mixed-use waterfront as secured by the adoption of the LWRP Zoning Code in 2011, then we need to apply the code equally and without arbitrary distinctions. Nonetheless, I am grateful closer scrutiny is finally occurring.

  5. Our mayor's letter is well crafted and measured. Be firm, and fair, and hold out the olive branch. Good job!

  6. Aren't improvements that promote navigation a city obligation? If so hasn't Colarusso provided a public service? Wasn't long ago that the governor needed that bulkhead.

    1. No, the City has an obligation to its public, while higher government may promote navigation.

      Either way, at any level of government, there's no justification for anyone to be ducking the proper authorizations.

      But somewhat in line with your thinking, the single violation the City has decided to pursue above others is the closest to actual maintenance work.

      It just makes you wonder.

  7. The customary, prescribed and (pre)historic use of shore is to promote navigation. City and state leadership screwed the citizens of Hudson 150 years ago when they placed the railroad tracks where they now are.

    Revitalize the entire shore. Move the running rails inland and let commerce and people flow freely.

    1. To be clear, the City' "obligation" is to residents, and to its own Local Laws.

      But to say that the Feds can take care of navigation is not the whole story. The whole point of a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) is to allow locals to decide how Federal policies and laws should apply in their locale.

      The first step of an approved LWRP is to ratify the municipal Zoning Code in preparation for local waterfront policies which will do things like promote navigation. Although they interpret and apply the Federal statues, the zoning and new waterfront policies will become Local Laws.

      Well we've already done the first phase, which is the zoning, and it's already being ignored.

      To repeat, the City's obligation is to its Local Laws. Even though we still don't have an approved LWRP, those laws must be honored by all.

      So far, any talk of "interstate commerce" at the port is totally inapplicable to the circumstances. We've heard it used to explain why the revetment is not a violation while the bulkhead work is, but it's just another ruse.

      Yes we'll make sure the people flow, but only according to the people's law.

  8. After the American Revolution, state and federal courts upheld public fishing rights, as well as state authority to regulate fishing to conserve fisheries. In Arnold v. Mundy, the owner of land next to a river claimed private ownership of the fishing rights, but the court said this amounted to claiming that “Magna Charta was a farce.” The court relied on “the law of nature, which is the only true foundation of all the social rights,” and said Magna Charta was “nothing but a restoration of common rights,” then held that the state “cannot make a direct and absolute grant of the waters of the state, divesting all the citizens of their common right,” adding that such a grant “never could be long borne by a free people.” In Martin v. Waddell, the U.S. Supreme Court held that in America, as in England, the public has a “liberty of fishing in the sea, or creeks, or arms thereof, as a public common of piscary.” (Fishing place.) In subsequent cases, the U.S. Supreme Court held that states hold surface waters “in trust” for the people, so that the people will have “liberty of fishing therein freed from the obstruction or interferences of private parties.” It held that a state cannot “abdicate its trust over property in which the whole people are interested,” and that rivers “shall not be disposed of piecemeal to individuals as private property.” These principles are now known as the Public Trust Doctrine. Arnold v. Mundy, 6 N.J.L. 1 (1821). Martin v. Waddell, 41 U.S. (16 Pet.) 367, 10 L.ed 997 (1842). Illinois Central Railroad Co. v. Illinois, 146 U.S. 387, 36 L.ed 1018 (1892). Shively v. Bowlby, 152 U.S. 1, 38 L.ed 331 (1894).