|Photo: Richard Wallace|
Alarmed by the prospect, after publishing the post, I contacted the mayor, the Conservation Advisory Council, and the chair of the Waterfront Advisory Committee, wanting to know what, if anything, the City could do to prevent this escarpment--the face of Hudson to the river--from being disfigured in this way. To her credit, the mayor immediately passed my concerns along to the city attorney and the code enforcement officer. On Friday, I learned the outcome from the code enforcement officer.
The railroad right of way extends all the way up to the edge of the cliff--a situation that has probably existed since 1851, when the railroad blasted away the base of the escarpment to make way for the railroad tracks. That being the case, the City of Hudson has no jurisdiction. If, in the zoning that is part of the 2011 Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, this area had been made part of the Core Riverfront District, the Planning Board would presumably have had to approve any work proposed, but, alas, the escarpment is not part of the Core Riverfront District. Below Promenade Hill and Hudson Terrace on either side, from Ferry Street to Dock Street, everything west of the railroad tracks is in the Core Riverfront District, and everything east of the railroad tracks is in the Riverfront Gateway District--ironic name since it is our riverfront gateway that is now being defaced. No one anticipated this.
The project is expected to take six weeks. They started at the south end and are working their way north. This is what the escarpment looked like this morning, one week after the work began.