Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ear to the Ground

The word is that Mayor William Hallenbeck has appointed Peggy Polenberg to the Historic Preservation Commission. Chapter 169-3 D of the city code states: "New Commission members shall be appointed by the Mayor after consideration of recommendations put forward by the existing Commission. The Mayor shall not be bound by the recommendations of the existing Commission." The second sentence is the operative one here, since Polenberg was not one of the three people recommended to Mayor Hallenbeck by the HPC. In fact, rumor has it that David Voorhees, chair of the HPC, was not informed of the appointment by Hallenbeck before it was made or immediately after. 

Six criteria for appointing HPC members are spelled out in Chapter 169-3 A of the city code. Polenberg meets two of the six: she is a resident of Hudson (6), and she lives in a historic district (3), in this house on the 200 block of Warren Street. 


  1. What is interesting about this is that the Polenbergs made their artistic statement by totally gutting a high end period totally intact interior.

    Of course this was after trying to sell off the bits and pieces, having been educated to the value of the mantles and moldings.

    Now considered for the Historic Preservation Commission .

    How interesting...

  2. When I first saw this building ,I really thought it was some upstate Hari Krishna Devotee Guest House,or these people were from Tannersville,if you ever been up there,and they were just getting started,but I was told it was a statement...
    Must of been painted pre 2003 before HPC was formed,right?.Tell me HPC didn't approve that?

  3. Prison Alley--I don't recall exactly when this house was painted orange, but it was after 2003. Paint colors do not require a certificate of appropriateness, the thinking being that paint is not a permanent or irreversible alteration to a historic structure and paint color falls more into the category of aesthetics than historic preservation.

    1. That would be if something had already been painted?
      Irreversible damage can easily be done with paint,type of paint,painted before or not.So the material, paint ,must be considered.
      Removal of paint must also be considered.
      Repainting or removing ,an intense a color as that orange on brick,can have more than temporary aesthetic ramifications.
      Ward Hamilton has an informative post on that subject
      Gossips of Rivertown:Anticipation
      April 9,2012
      The color,which would have the most visual impact,
      is not required to to be reviewed or be considered as a factor that contributes
      to compatibility with surrounding area? It would in any other finish.
      I'm not talking Taste Police.
      The Painted Ladies of San Francisco,are not my cup of tea
      but are historically compatible within that historic district and context.
      In Tannersville,NY on Hunter Mt.,some wealthy woman gave out grants
      to anyone that would paint their house or business these crazy,loud colors,
      that she picked.
      Being less than an affluent area,people were happy to.Weather is hard up there.
      Free paint job, new windows and repairs.And this wealthy woman satisfied some transformation she had in mind for this town, with no HPC in her way,that gratified her ego.
      Those same colors would create a garish eyesore out of Warren St.as they did up there.
      Perhaps to some, one large fluorescent orange building is a novelty, unless you live across from it.
      But how about many? Christo and Jeanne-Claude used orange cloth as a statement
      It was temporary.

      The Polenberg's were perfectly within their rights to to gut their building as Vincent has described,because,HPC has no jurisdiction on interiors.
      Like Galloway did to the Worth House,no one could stop that.
      Why some would do that, is a whole other subject.
      Historic Preservation Code:
      A. In passing on an application for a certificate of appropriateness,
      the Historic Preservation Commission shall not consider changes
      to interior spaces unless they are specifically land marked.
      However, I read the code on Color ,differently.
      B (3) Texture, materials,and*color*and their relation to similar features
      of other properties in the neighborhood;
      this is that passage in context.
      § 169-6 Criteria for approval of certificate of appropriateness.
      . The Commission's
      decision shall be based on the following principles:
      (1) Properties that contribute to the character of the historic district shall
      be retained, with their historic features altered as little as possible;
      (2) Any alteration of existing properties shall be compatible with their
      *historic character, as well as with the surrounding district;* and
      (3) New construction shall be compatible with the district in which it is located
      B. In applying the principle of compatibility, the Commission shall consider
      the following factors:
      (1) The general design, character, and appropriateness to the property of the proposed alteration or new construction;
      (2) The scale of the proposed alteration or new construction in relation to the property itself, surrounding properties, and the neighborhood;

      (3 Texture, materials, and* color* and their relation to similar features
      of other properties in the neighborhood

      (4)* Visual compatibility* with
      surrounding properties,including proportion of the property's front facade, proportion and arrangement of windows and other openings within
      the facade, roof shape, and the rhythm of spacing of properties on streets, including setback; and
      (5) The importance of historic, architectural, or other features
      to the significance of the property.

    2. This choice of new member of HPC to represent the Citizens of Hudson,
      that was forced on HPC,without discussion and Hallenbeck, at his discretion,chose to ignore the recommendations of HPC.
      would seem to be an unnecessary political move.The Mayor's
      CC and the Bldg, Dept can already run roughshod over any decisions HPC comes to, as it is.
      I do not know Ms Polenburgh and not being a good candidate for Historic Preservation Commission,does not make her a bad person.
      That being said,
      Ms. Polenberg would appear to be a very bad choice as a Historic Preservationist Watchdog for the Citizens of Hudson and the future,
      as her own personal choice was to gut a Historic Bldg. on lower Warren
      and painting it a completely incompatible color, so obviously
      controversial , at great expense, just for a "statement."
      It does not induce confidence
      in stewardship or caring for our Architectural Heritage or Districts,
      but reads more of an arrogance.

      Is this is reprisals and frustration for not giving GalVan in the person of Tom Swope what it wanted last meeting? Mayor William Hallenbeck, who was present at the meeting,chided HPC members for lack of enthusiasm, saying they should have given a standing ovation for GalVan's proposal to move 900 Columbia Street.

      Does Scalera,Hallenbeck GalVan,feel the need for an inside "man" in the HPC?
      Ms.Polenberg is/was a real estate agent for Galloway as was Tom Swope when he was Chair of HPC? There are very important historical buidings on the line right now.
      enough said.

  4. Two out of six. That really adds up!

  5. "Weltschmerz" submitted the following comment:

    Ms. Polenberg has worked as Eric Galloway's real estate broker and, I believe, continues to do so. Perhaps the city code should be amended to include a requirement that one must work for Mr. Galloway in some capacity in order to serve on the HPC. We should preserve the blatant conflicts of interest that have served Hudson so well, no?