Friday, April 22, 2011

Public Hearing About Robinson Street

It's difficult to report on a meeting when you're a participant instead of an observer, so I defer to Jamie Larson's account of the goings-on at last night's public hearing on the proposed Robinson Street Historic District in today's Register-Star: "Robinson residents: "Leave our street alone." 

The article makes one statement that needs clarification: "The HPC does not approve plans for putting up vinyl siding but does make determinations about the appropriateness of paint color choices." Proposals to put vinyl siding on buildings must go before the Historic Preservation Commission for a certificate of appropriateness, which they would be unlikely to grant since the appearance of vinyl siding is not compatible with historic surfaces and its application can do long-term damage to the original siding by trapping moisture. The choice of paint colors does NOT have to come before the HPC for approval.

If you're curious to know the context in which I talked about "rich white men," the full text of my presentation at the hearing can be accessed here. The reference comes about midway through.

It is hoped that First Ward Alderman Geeta Cheddie's suggestion that the City create a fund from which homeowners in historic districts could borrow is an idea whose time has come, but it should be noted that the idea is not original with her. In March, Third Ward Alderman Ellen Thurston suggested such a fund at the public hearing to discuss the City's application for a Community Development Block Grant. Back in 2006, soon after Governor George Pataki introduced the Community Preservation Act legislation to allow communities to impose a real estate transfer fee of up to two percent of the sale price of real property to create a Community Preservation Fund, I advocated for the City of Hudson to create such a fund for exactly the reason Cheddie cited: to provide low- and moderate-income homeowners in historic districts with a source of no-interest loans or outright grants to make necessary and appropriate repairs to their historic buildings. The idea got no traction at the time, mostly because the person who was then Common Council President and one of my colleagues on the Council sold real estate and felt that a transfer fee of any amount would discourage sales. I wish Cheddie better luck with her idea.        


  1. Great Presentation Carole... perhaps a city fund available to homeowners in historic districts for improvements could be augmented by fines charged to all residents who abandon buildings within city limits and dump garbage in the alleys. Hefty fines would create a good start for home improvements as well as providing a fiscal incentive for a city wide clean-up.

  2. Wow. A 2% transfer tax on real estate sales would be a nice kick in the head for property owners in Hudson. A good way to drop the value of houses, especially on top of the increase in Hudson school taxes of how much this year -- 8%, 9%, 10% or more?

    Please remind me not to buy real estate in Hudson.

    -- Jock Spivy

  3. I meant to write that the HPC does NOT make determinations on paint colors. the unfortunate error is confusing and I apologize. It has been corrected in the online version and we will run a correction in print as well.