Sunday, October 2, 2022

Meetings of Interest in the Week Ahead

With frost warnings now a regularly occurring thing, autumn is definitely upon us. In the week preceding Indigenous People's Day, a.k.a. Columbus Day, here is what's happening on the meeting front.
  • On Monday, October 3, the Housing Trust Fund Board meets at 6:00 p.m. The meeting takes place in person only, presumably at City Hall.
  • On Tuesday, October 4, the Conservation Advisory Council meets at 6:00 p.m. This meeting, too, is in person only and takes place at City Hall.
  • On Wednesday, October 5, the Hudson Industrial Development Agency (IDA) meets at 9:30 a.m. At its last meeting, the IDA adopted its new guidelines for evaluating projects that apply for financial benefits, so presumably the moratorium on reviewing hotel projects has ended. If that's the case, the IDA will resume its review of the application for Hudson Public, the hotel the Galvan Foundation plans to development at Fourth and Warren streets, which was granted site plan approval by the Planning Board last week. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at 1 City Centre, Suite 301, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.
  • Also on Wednesday, October 5, the Common Council Legal Committee meets at 6:00 p.m. The word is that the issue of a sidewalk law/policy has been moved from the ad hoc sidewalk committee to the Legal Committee, so it is likely the discussion of sidewalks will be taken up at this meeting. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at City Hall and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.
  • On Thursday, October 6, Mayor Kamal Johnson holds a public hearing at 4:00 p.m. on a number of amendments to local laws, all of which are described here, and on the local law extending the lodging tax. The hearing takes place in person only at City Hall.
  • Also on Thursday, October 6, the Common Council ad hoc committee dedicated to the issue of solving the problem of trucks passing through the city meets at 6:00 p.m. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at City Hall and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.
COPYRIGHT 2022 CAROLE OSTERINK

Conflicting Environmental Interests

In late August, when the drought was putting the City of Hudson's water supply in jeopardy, the Water Department issued an advisory about conserving water which began with an explanation of where our water comes from.
The City of Hudson receives the raw water for its public water supply from the 78-million-gallon Churchtown reservoir. That man-made water body is primarily filled by water diverted from the Taghkanic Creek in the Town of Taghkanic. Our watershed encompasses 55-square miles in the Towns of Claverack, Hillsdale, Taghkanic and Copake and its regulations are codified by State Law under 10 NYCRR 109.1.

On Friday, an open letter addressed to Mayor Kamal Johnson and Matt Murell, chair of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, which appeared as a full-page ad in the Register-Star, warned that the Hecate Solar Project proposed for Shepherd's Run in Copake could adversely impact Hudson's water supply. The following is quoted from that letter:
Last week, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner announced the Taghkanic Headwaters Conservation PlanThe Plan maps five areas of exceptional importance including the Taghkanic Creek which supplies drinking water for the City of Hudson and other residents of Columbia County.
This essential water source is at risk from Hecate Energy’s proposed Shepherd’s Run solar project (DMM #21-02553) which is located in the broad alluvial floodplain of the Taghkanic Creek, its associated wetlands and tributaries.
Hecate’s consultant recently made regulatory filings identifying 21 wetlands (159.53 acres) in the Project Area, and 17 streams, 9 of which are NYS protected streams including the Taghkanic Creek.
Construction of a project on this scale could adversely impact drinking water for the City of Hudson. Significant concerns include: 
  • The boring of underground electrical lines under NYS Protected Waterbody Crossings
  • Excavation and grading near NYS Protected Waterbodies
  • Clearing of 40 acres of forest
  • Oil in large transformers requiring a spill containment plan
  • Steep slope erosion
  • Road construction 

There are many disturbing statements in the application (Petition Items 53 & 54 filed 7/29/22). Exhibit 13 “Water Resources & Aquatic Ecology” and Exhibit 14 “Wetlands” describe the construction process which will take place over 9 to 12 months. We encourage you to read Exhibit 13 and 14, namely:

1. HDD [Horizontal Directional Drilling] boring methods are proposed for burying electrical lines under NYS protected waterbody crossings [which we assume is the Taghkanic Creek]. A total of five streams are being crossed using HDD boring, and one stream is having trees cleared from its banks. [Exhibit 13, Page 23].

2. Short term minor stream impacts (i.e. increases in downstream turbidity levels and sediment deposition downstream) are possible with the open stream crossing method [Exhibit 13, Page 14]

3. Certain construction activities have potential to result in direct and/or indirect impacts to surface waters. These activities include the installation of access roads, and the installation of buried electrical collection lines. [Exhibit 13, Page 15]

4. The volume of oil in the large power transformers located at the substation is expected to trigger the requirement for a SPC and Spill Containment Plan. The other large storage site is located at the inverter-transformers. [Exhibit 13, Page 21]

5. There will be some unavoidable impacts to the 100 ft. adjacent area of state regulated wetlands, specifically the adjacency of six delineated State regulated wetlands will include some disturbance from . . . installation of solar arrays, clearing and/or maintenance of adjacent area vegetation, earthwork for the placement of roads, placement of security fence, trenching of buried electrical collection lines, forest clearing . . . and planting for visual screening . . . . [Exhibit 14, Page 7]

6. Slope and Erosion Considerations in Relation to NYS Protected Waterbodies--There are two areas of steep slope, greater than 35%, within the project area. . . . [Exhibit 14, Page 17]

The private developer, who is motivated solely by large potential profits, will claim they have mitigation plans for all of these hazards. Given the importance of protecting the drinking water supply to the citizens of Hudson and Columbia County, we should not rely on a private developer’s assurances when no independent oversight is in place. . . . 

We must carefully implement the DEC’s Conservation Plan, whose vision statement is:

“The Taghkanic Headwaters and the lands that surround it support clean water for the people, plants and animals, and provide vital wildlife habitat connections between New York and New England. We envision a future Taghkanic watershed that is cared for by local communities and landowners to protect clean water. . . .”
The application referenced in the letter can be found here.

The map of the Taghkanic Creek Headwaters below shows the location of the proposed Hecate Project construction area in relation to the City of Hudson's Churchtown reservoir. Compare this map with the one shown earlier. The red outline marks the 55-square-mile area that is the City of Hudson watershed. 


This project appears to pit the benefits of renewable energy against the inarguable need to protect our water supply. This is a project that deserves the attention and intervention of both the City of Hudson Conservation Advisory Council and the Columbia County Environmental Management Council.  
COPYRIGHT 2022 CAROLE OSTERINK

Addendum: The Columbia County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution (R151-2021) opposing the Shepherd's Run Solar Project in May 2021. The resolution was introduced by Hudson Third Ward supervisor Michael Chameides.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

COVID-19 Update

Gossips is a day late. Here are the COVID numbers reported by the Columbia County Department of Health yesterday. Between Thursday and Friday, there were 13 new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases reported on Friday were 10 more than on Thursday, from which it can be inferred that, from Thursday to Friday, only 3 county residents recovered from the virus. The number of county residents hospitalized with COVID-19 and in the ICU remained the same. There has not been a death from COVID-19 reported in Columbia County since September 12.

In year ago on September 30, the CCDOH reported 13 new cases of COVID-19. The total number of cases was 5,075, and the number of active cases was 99. There were 301 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 4 were hospitalized, and 0 were in the ICU. The total number of deaths in Columbia County attributed to COVID-19 at this time last year was 102.

Arbor Day on Sunday

Tomorrow at 10 a.m., the Conservation Advisory Council observes Arbor Day by planting five trees in various locations around the city. Yesterday, however, the Department of Public Works did the hard work of digging the holes and setting the trees in place. What is left for the volunteers is filling in the holes, attaching the tree watering bags, and posing for pictures.

COPYRIGHT 2022 CAROLE OSTERINK

Thursday, September 29, 2022

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health released its numbers earlier today, while Gossips was getting a booster shot. Since yesterday, there have been 18 new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases being reported today is 2 fewer than yesterday, from which it can be inferred that, since yesterday, 20 county residents have recovered from the virus. The number of county residents hospitalized with COVID-19 and in the ICU is the same as yesterday. There has not been a death from COVID-19 reported in Columbia County since September 12. 

A year ago today, the CCDOH reported 8 new cases of COVID-19. The total number of cases was 5,062, and the number of active cases was 107. There were 325 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 4 were hospitalized, and 0 were in the ICU. The total number of deaths in Columbia County attributed to COVID-19 at this time last year was 102.

News from the Planning Board

The Planning Board meeting this afternoon lasted for only about half an hour, but in that time, the five members present--Theresa Joyner, Valerie Wray, Dustin Duncan, Gene Shetsky, and John Cody--accomplished a fair amount of business. They made a negative declaration, approved the merging of parcels, and granted site plan approval to Hudson Public, the hotel the Galvan Foundation plans to develop from the buildings at northeast corner of Warren and Fourth streets.

They granted site plan approval to 508-510 State Street, which is being renovated to be an eight-unit residential dwelling. The building, now vacant, previously had six units. 

And they voted to authorize the attorneys handling the latest lawsuit brought by A. Colarusso & Sons against the Planning Board to file a Notice of Appeal. They voted unanimously, as Victoria Polidoro, legal counsel to the Planning Board, explained, to authorize the attorneys to do what they have already done.

Other items on the agenda--the public hearing on the proposal to create a kind of subdivision on Hudson Avenue and the public hearing on the redevelopment by the Galvan Foundation of the former Community Theater into a theater to be called Hudson Forum--were postponed until the Planning Board's next meeting, which takes place on October 11.
COPYRIGHT 2022 CAROLE OSTERINK

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Of Interest

In an episode of History Room on Zoom, Chief Ed Moore talks with Gary Sheffer, library trustee and chair of the History Room Committee, about the long history of the Hudson Police Department, the legendary state police raid on Hudson that took place in June 1950, and the plan to create a memorial garden at the Hudson police and courts building. Click here to view the conversation.



COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been 14 new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases being reported today is 7 fewer than yesterday, from which it can be inferred that, since yesterday, 21 county residents have recovered from the virus. The number of county residents hospitalized with COVID-19 and in the ICU remains the same as yesterday. There has not been a death from COVID-19 reported in Columbia County since September 12.  

A year ago today, the CCDOH reported 22 new cases of COVID-19. The total number of cases was 5,054, and the number of active cases was 114. There were 278 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 3 were hospitalized, and 0 were in the ICU. The total number of deaths in Columbia County attributed to COVID-19 at this time last year was 102.

Tonight in Stuyvesant

At its meeting tonight, it is expected that the Stuyvesant Zoning Board of Appeals will vote on a proposal to construct twenty "agro-tourism cabins," along with other tourist amenities, on a farm on Sharptown Ridge. On August 29, the Zoning Board held a public hearing on the project. Ten Stuyvesant residents spoke out against the proposal, arguing that the proposal was principally lodging, lodging was not agriculture, and therefore Stuyvesant's zoning did not allow it. No one from the public spoke in support of the project. The following is quoted from a comment submitted by a resident in the Zoom chat during the hearing:
Why would an investor look at Stuyvesant? It is a question worth looking into. Maybe they were rejected by other towns in our county and then they saw this open field and decided to give us a try. Maybe not. But it is worth the time and energy it takes for the town to review. A venture capitalist putting up housing in Stuyvesant--or anywhere for that matter--has one goal: to make money. Money. Not community. Money. It has nothing to do with our town as a community. It has everything to do with their bank accounts. If anyone in town is associated with this project they'll get a portion of the wealth, but ask yourselves if it is worth it to see this Florida-condo-type project go up in our zoned-for-agriculture town and in ten years watch it collapse from lack of maintenance. There are plenty of examples out there of venture capital money making the bucks and then leaving it to the crows.
Interestingly, both opponents and defenders of the proposed project in Stuyvesant have cited Liberty Farms in Ghent, which describes itself as a "boutique glamping site," as an example.


Photo: Liberty Farms
For opponents of the Sharptown Ridge project, Liberty Farms is an example of a commercial tourist destination for which agriculture is only a minor component rather than an ancillary business that supplements income from farming. A defender of the project cited Liberty Farms as a precedent, telling Gossips it is "already up and running in Stuyvesant." Its existence was presented as justification for the Sharptown Ridge project, despite Liberty Farms being in Ghent not Stuyvesant.

The Stuyvesant Zoning Board meeting takes place tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Stuyvesant Town Hall, 5 Sunset Drive in Stuyvesant. Also on the agenda for tonight's meeting is a proposal to install a utility-scale solar project on Schoolhouse Road.
COPYRIGHT 2022 CAROLE OSTERINNK

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been 8 new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases being reported today is 17 fewer than yesterday, from which it can be inferred that, since yesterday, 25 county residents have recovered from the virus. The number of county residents hospitalized with COVID-19 and in the ICU is the same today as yesterday. There has not been a death from COVID-19 reported in Columbia County since September 12.

A year ago today, the CCDOH reported a death from COVID-19 and 21 new cases. The total number of cases was 5,032, and the number of active cases was 111. There were 245 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 3 were hospitalized, and 0 were in the ICU. The total number of deaths in Columbia County attributed to COVID-19 at this time last year was 102.

On the Subject of Sidewalks

The Common Council ad hoc committee dedicated to solving the problem of Hudson's sidewalks met last night. The first official act of the committee was to draft and distribute with the water bills a letter informing property owners of their responsibilities with regard to the maintenance of the sidewalks adjoining their property. Interestingly, that letter seems not to be available anywhere on the City of Hudson website.

Last night, Councilmember Dominic Merante (Fifth Ward), who chairs the committee, laid out an action plan "for attacking a sidewalk law," a law inspired by the City of Ithaca's City Sidewalk Policy, which "moves away from burdening individual property owners with the entire cost of sidewalk installation and maintenance for sidewalks adjoining their property, toward the creation of 5 Sidewalk Improvement Districts (SID) funded by an annual sidewalk assessment fee." The action plan proposed by Merante involves three parts:

(1) Identifying the Sidewalk Improvement Districts in Hudson.
It was suggested that the five wards could be the SIDs in Hudson. It's a simple solution, but it doesn't seem quite right. The ward boundaries in Hudson are now based on population. As a consequence, the geographic area of the wards differs significantly, as does the amount of sidewalk in each ward.

(2) Figuring out how to prioritize districts or areas within districts.
Merante suggested that they develop a system of rating sidewalks using numbers, with the highest being for sidewalks that are most used and in the worst condition. Councilmember Vicky Daskaloudi expressed the opinion that assessing all the sidewalks is "a lot of work." Merante suggested they might seek volunteers to do the assessment.

(3) Figuring out how the sidewalk assessment fee would work. 
It was decided that this issue would be handled by Councilmembers Ryan Wallace (Third Ward), who was absent from the meeting, and Amber Harris (Third Ward). 



Although the committee is pursuing a plan to "move away from burdening individual property owners with the entire cost of sidewalk installation and maintenance for sidewalks adjoining their property," Daskaloudi seemed to stay focused on ways to get individual property owners to repair or replace their sidewalks. She suggested that there should be a law "giving people sixty days to fix their sidewalks" after purchasing a building. She commented, "I see some properties that are selling for a million, two million dollars, and they're not fixing the sidewalks, and it really makes me angry." Toward the end of the meeting, mayor's aide Michael Hofmann offered the information that in other communities sidewalk improvement is required of the seller before a deed transfer is issued.    

The entire meeting can be viewed on YouTube.

On the subject of sidewalks, I have a personal observation. For the first time in almost nine years, I've been doing a lot of walking in my neighborhood with my dog, Joey. Our regular ambles are on the south side of town, usually between Second and Fourth Streets, and it has been my observation that there are very few sidewalks that could pass muster. The most egregious sidewalk issue we have encountered lately, though, is not uneven or broken or missing sidewalks but this stoop which juts out so far onto the public way that there's only about two feet of sidewalk between the stoop and the curb and even less between the stoop and a utility pool. 


A check of the tax rolls revealed that this house is owned by the Galvan Foundation.
COPYRIGHT 2022 CAROLE OSTERINK

Monday, September 26, 2022

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since Friday, there have been 52 new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases being reported today is 3 more than on Friday, from which it can be inferred that, since Friday, 49 county residents have recovered from the virus. There are 4 more county residents hospitalized with COVID-19 today than on Friday, and 1 more is in the ICU. There has not been a death from COVID-19 reported in Columbia County since September 12. 

A year ago, September 26 was a Sunday, and the CCDOH did not report COVID numbers. On Saturday, September 25, the CCDOH reported 14 new cases of COVID-19. The total number of cases was 5,011, and the number of active cases was 134. There were 353 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 6 were hospitalized, and 1 was in the ICU. The total number of deaths in Columbia County attributed to COVID-19 at this time last year was 101.

On the Subject of Paint

The plan for repainting 529 Warren Street (pictured below) sparked a discussion at the Historic Preservation Commission meeting on Friday about the appropriate role of the HPC regarding paint on historic buildings. 

The HPC currently does not opine on paint color. In 2003, when Hudson's preservation ordinance was originally adopted, jurisdiction over paint color was deliberately omitted because a prime fearmongering claim uttered by opponents of historic preservation, usually in horrified tones, was, "They're going to tell you what color you can paint your house." Because paint is not permanent and does not alter the historic fabric of a building, the HPC only intervenes when paint is being removed from masonry or being applied to masonry that has never before been painted, because both actions can damage historic materials. 

Hudson today is quite a different place from what it was in 2003, and the plan for painting 529 Warren Street has raised the issue of paint and its use negatively impacting the historic character of Warren Street.

Craig Haigh, code enforcement officer, said he had known about this plan for painting 529 Warren Street for more than a month before it was brought to the attention of the HPC on Friday. He said he had studied the code and consulted with the city attorney to see if there was any legal basis for him to refer this to the HPC, but the conclusion was there was nothing in the code that addressed this. He also pointed out that a precedent had already been set for buildings whose colors and paint design disrupted the character of the streetscape. Examples cited during the course of the discussion were 249-251 Warren Street, which has been painted orange for more than a decade; 318 Warren Street, the location of Culture Cream; and 612 Warren Street, the art gallery called Shakespeare's Fulcrum. 
  

         
In the discussion of paint and its application to buildings, murals were also mentioned. Victoria Polidoro, legal counsel to the HPC, cautioned that any attempt to ban or regulate murals might violate First Amendment rights.

HPC chair Phil Forman noted that amending the preservation ordinance, Chapter 169 of the city code, required an action of the Common Council and warned, "If we try to change one thing, they could change another." He argued that the HPC "has a very good compliance record" and cautioned against creating "something onerous." Similarly, HPC member Hugh Biber opined that "to add more on to the process" would be problematic "from a PR point of view" and suggested any attempt to regulate paint would be "opening the door to more problems than it's worth."

Architect member Chip Bohl proposed that the HPC create guidelines for paint. "We cannot, as a commission, begin to control color," Bohl told his colleagues. "What we can control is what is painted." Bohl suggested, "A good guideline is you don't paint one wall a bunch of different colors." That prompted HPC member Miranda Barry to ask rhetorically, "Do we really want to outlaw murals?" She later opined, "It is a first amendment issue."

Early on in the discussion, Polidoro recommended that the HPC form a working group to come up with a proposal regarding the use of paint in historic districts. In the end, it was decided they would look into how other communities with historic districts handled the issue of paint--both paint color and paint application patterns. Although the commission generally agreed on this course of action, no members of commission were appointed to the proposed working group.
COPYRIGHT 2022 CAROLE OSTERINK

Meetings and Events in the Week Ahead

Autumn officially began four days ago. This week, September ends, and October begins. As we move deeper into fall, here is what's happening this week.
  • On Monday, September 26, the Common Council ad hoc committee seeking to solve the problem of Hudson's sidewalks meets at 5:00 p.m. The meeting will be a hybrid, taking place in person at City Hall and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely. 
  • On Tuesday, September 27, Waterfront Wednesdays will be featured in a panel discussion titled "This River Is a Place: Activating a City's Waterfront" at The Future of Small Cities Institute in Troy. The event will explore three Hudson riverfront cities--Hudson, Beacon, and Kingston--and "hear about their journeys to activate their waterfronts, how they formed public and private partnerships, what has worked and what has not worked, and what steps cities just starting on the process should take." Adam Weinert will represent Hudson, talking about Waterfront Wednesdays. The event takes place at 6:00 p.m. in person at FOCUS Lab, 21 Third Street in Troy. It will also be livestreamed on Zoom. Those who register here to attend will receive the Zoom link.
Photo: David McIntyre
  • On Thursday, September 29, the Planning Board meets at 4:00 p.m. This meeting was originally scheduled to take place on September 13. The agenda for the meeting, which can be found here, includes, among other things, the proposal for Hudson Public, the hotel the Galvan Foundation plans to develop at the corner of Warren and Fourth streets. The meeting will be a hybrid, taking place in person at City Hall and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.
  • On Friday, September 30, at 6:00 p.m., there is a public hearing on the City of Hudson's funding application for the Crescent Garage at Warren and Eighth streets. The notice explains: "The project involves rehabilitation of a vacant building for mixed-use as community gallery space, office, film and video editing facility, studio apartments, and event venue." The funding sought is from the Restore New York Communities Initiative (RestoreNY). The hearing is in person only at City Hall.
  • On Saturday, October 1, at 10:00 a.m., Christ Church Episcopal, 431 Union Street, holds its annual blessing of the animals. All animals are welcome so long as they are leashed or in a crate.
  • On Sunday, October 2, the Conservation Advisory Council celebrates Arbor Day 2022 by planting five street trees in different locations in Hudson. Those wanting to help with the planting are asked to meet in Seventh Street Park at 10:00 a.m.
COPYRIGHT 2022 CAROLE OSTERINK

Sunday, September 25, 2022

A Teaching Tale for a Sunday Night

Shortly before 7:00 this evening, I drove to City Hall to purchase trash bags from the machine. As I was parking, I witnessed a young couple swipe a card and enter their selection several times but leave disgruntled and bagless. Despite their experience, I was determined to try it for myself, but before I could fetch a card from my purse and exit the car, someone else stepped up the machine to try his luck. His experience was the same. He swiped his card and made his selection two or three times, but nothing happened. No pack of trash bags dropped into the tray. He too left unhappy, commenting to me as he left, "It's going to be a smelly week." 

Refusing to learn from the experience of others, I stepped up to the machine and swiped my card. I waited, and within a few seconds, the display indicated that my card had been approved and I should make my selection. I did as I was told, but nothing happened. After a bit, the display again indicated I should swipe my card, which I dutifully did, but again making my selection yielded nothing. 

I had an advantage over the people who had preceded me. I knew how to get in touch with DPW superintendent Rob Perry. With apologies for bothering him on a Sunday, I texted Perry, primarily to ask if there was a chance the machine would be fixed by morning, in time for me to get some trash bags before the garbage truck came by my house. After sending the text, I drove home.

Perry's house and mine are about equidistant from City Hall, albeit in opposite directions. To my surprise, by the time I got home, I had two texts from Perry. The first one, sent within seconds of my original text, suggested there was probably something already in the tray of the machine. The second one, received just as I entered my house, confirmed what he had suspected and provided a picture.


Perry speculated, "It looks like someone purchased a bag as a curiosity . . . opened it. Then, realizing they weren't going to use it, thought they'd be nice and put it back for the next customer." Unfortunately, what someone thought was a nice gesture prevented at least three Hudson residents from getting the trash bags they needed for the morning.

Lessons learned:
 
(1) Always check to make sure there is nothing in the tray before attempting to purchase trash bags. There is a sensor that does not allow a new purchase until the previous purchased has cleared, that is, until the bags have been removed from the machine.

(2) Don't wait until you are out of trash bags and it's the night before collection day to try to buy bags. 

I must admit that the second lesson is one I have yet to learn. I'll be at the trash bag vending machine first thing in the morning.

Restaurant News

Photo: Trixie's List
Cafe Mutton
, located a bit off the beaten path at 757 Columbia Street, is definitely the restaurant in Hudson getting the most attention and accolades these days. Earlier this month, it was included in Bon Appetit's 50 Best New Restaurants 2022. Last week, it made the New York Times list of America's Best Restaurants 2022--"50 places in America we're most excited about right now." 

On October 27, you can hear Shaina Loew-Banayan, chef and owner of Cafe Mutton, in conversation with food writer Tamar Adler, talking about Loew-Banayan's book, Elegy for an Appetite, a short, poetic memoir that "follows the author's journey from voracious childhood to starving teen years and then to challenging early adulthood." The event takes place at Hudson Hall. Click here for more information.

Considering Trucks

Photo: NYS GIS
At the Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) meeting this past Tuesday, Mary Susan Knauss, who joined the HDC board in 2019, announced her resignation from the board. Her reason for leaving is that she is soon to become president of the not-for-profit NYS GIS Association, and time does not permit her to continue on the HDC board. GIS stands for Geographical Information Science. Knauss, who now works as a consultant, was for thirteen years Senior Transportation Analyst for the NYS Department of Transportation.

As a parting gift to HDC and Hudson, Knauss presented a document called "Truck Route FAQ," which she said was "meant to distill all I might have contributed to the board" regarding the perennial issue of truck routes through Hudson. She told her HDC colleagues that she has offered her assistance to the Common Council ad hoc committee pursuing the issue of truck routes.

In her comments at the HDC meeting, Knauss said she cannot see any benefit the truck route has brought to Hudson. She recommended that people "stop talking about the truck route as if it is something you can just ban altogether." She warned that no effort will be successful unless the City addresses the problem in pieces. Because there are alternative ways to get to destinations outside the city without passing through the city, she advised that Hudson needed to make it harder and take longer to drive through the city than to go around it.

In the FAQ and in her presentation to HDC, Knauss pointed out that permitting can be used to discourage trucks from passing through Hudson. The default for a tractor trailer in 48 feet. A 53-foot tractor trailer is considered a Special Dimension Vehicle (SDV) requiring a permit. Most trucks entering Hudson are 53 feet, which means that "any street in Hudson is where they should not be." A truck's registration indicates the length of the truck, so enforcing length restrictions would not require an involved truck inspection. 

Krauss's FAQ makes this point, which is frequently brought up in discussions of trucks in Hudson:
In the age of GPS, accurate and efficient navigation of trucks on the proper routes occurs when a "truck route" designation is programmed into the system. With today's technology, a change to a truck route is basically a simple "flick of a switch" at the state level. 
Knauss's FAQ makes one point that will not be well received by many in Hudson. 
Can we at least get rid of the gravel trucks?
Yes, by giving them another way to go. The gravel trucks are local, and for where they go and what they do, they have permits. Hudson City Planning Board approval of access to the Haul Road from 9G/23B would rid the city of all the gravel trucks once and for all.
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that such action by the Planning Board would "rid the city of all gravel trucks once and for all." Representatives for Colarusso have stated in Planning Board meetings that they will continue to use city streets to get from the quarry to the waterfront in cases of emergency and when weather conditions prohibit use of their private road.

The next meeting of the ad hoc Truck Route Committee is scheduled to take place on Thursday, October 6, at 6:00 p.m.
COPYRIGHT 2022 CAROLE OSTERINK