Hudson may hold the record for spending the most time and probably also the most money on preparing its LWRP. The Local Waterfront Revitalization Program was started by the New York State Department of State in the 1980s. It was around that time that a plan to build an oil refinery on our waterfront, embraced by city government and the Hudson Community Development Office, was rebuffed by a local citizens' group, with the support of Clearwater, Scenic Hudson, and the Department of State--an experience that sparked interest among Hudsonians in developing a plan to revitalize the Hudson waterfront and discourage future bad development ideas.
Two decades later, in 2004, an LWRP for Hudson was finally submitted to the Department of State for approval, but approval was not granted. In October 2005, Charlie Butterworth, then superintendent of public works, and more than thirty other Hudson elected and appointed officials received a twenty-two-page letter from the Department of State outlining the proposed LWRP's shortcomings and giving counsel on how to proceed.
The Department of State kept the previous LWRP for more than a year before delivering its judgment, and most people believe that, eight years later, with the current LWRP, we're back in that same situation: waiting for Department of State approval--an approval which is contingent on fulfilling the conditions outlined in the Findings Statement. One of these conditions is the transfer of ten acres of land on the waterfront from Holcim to the City of Hudson, almost half of which may actually still be owned by the City of Hudson, and it has been the assumption that these conditions were being imposed by the Department of State.
A recent communication from a DOS staffer to a South Bay advocate (who shared the information with Gossips) indicates that a couple of common assumptions about the LWRP and its current status are untrue. First, the City of Hudson has not submitted the LWRP to the Department of State for the Secretary of State's approval. Second, the Findings Statement, which seems to be the basis for the belief that the City must acquire the waterfront land in order to move forward, is a City document. It does not report the "findings" of the Department of State, as one might imagine, nor does it necessarily, or so it would seem, outline conditions that must be fulfilled before the LWRP can get the needed state and federal approvals, even though the mayor and the Common Council seem to behave as if it does.
On May 29, Tom DePietro, who is filling in for Victor Mendolia on WGXC's @Issue, spoke with members of the South Bay Task Force--Chris Reed, Timothy O'Connor, and Patrick Doyle. Linda Mussmann, who chaired the Waterfront Advisory Steering Committee tasked with rewriting the LWRP in 2006 and 2007, criticized that discussion, expressing the opinion that what Reed, O'Connor, and Doyle said about the LWRP was wrong. So, tomorrow, Wednesday, June 19, DePietro will be interviewing Mussmann, who will correct the misconceptions.
Reading the LWRP guidebook that DOS published, Making the Most of Your Waterfront, you get the sense that an LWRP, like Abraham Lincoln's concept of government, is supposed to be "of the people, by the people, and for the people." So how is it that we now have a document that is so arcane that people who have devoted a great deal of time to reading it are alleged not to understand it, and people who have been paying attention don't know exactly where the LWRP stands in the approval and adoption process?
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