Thursday, August 15, 2013

Planning Commission Gives Site Plan Approval

As predicted, the Planning Commission on Wednesday night approved the plan to locate the Columbia-Greene Partnership Academy in the former Register-Star building at Warren and Fourth streets.

After discussing at some length whether staff members who drive to the location should be required to park in a designated parking lot or simply prohibited from parking on Warren Street (they ultimately decided on the latter), the five members of the Planning Commission who could participate in the deliberation and the vote--Don Tillson (chair), Cappy Pierro, Gail Grandinetti, Claudia DeStefano, and Glenn Martin--agreed unanimously to approve the resolution before them. (Of the two Planning Commission members not voting, Cleveland Samuels recused himself because he is employed by Galvan Partners/Galvan Foundation, Laura Margolis was absent.)

The four-page resolution, which apparently was drafted by Jonathan Cohen, attorney for the Galvan Foundation, contains some interesting details. Third in the litany of fifteen Whereases is this one, which quotes Hudson's rarely referenced 2002 Comprehensive Plan to justify siting an alternative learning program in the heart of the commercial district:
WHEREAS, as stated in Goal 3 of the City's Comprehensive Plan under "Create Improved Educational Opportunities for Residents": "In a community as diverse as Hudson, a culture of learning can serve as a glue that makes residents understand and appreciate those things they hold in common, along with those things that set them apart from each other. A community that promotes learning on the part of all its residents will certainly be more economically competitive, more culturally vibrant, and more civically involved and responsible."
The thirteenth Whereas mentions this goal from the eleven-year-old Comprehensive Plan again as one of the reasons why the project will have no adverse impact on community character:
WHEREAS, the Planning Commission finds that the project will not create an adverse impact to Hudson's community character as a school is an as of right permitted use in the C-C District and the City's Comprehensive Plan acknowledges as a goal, the creation of improved educational opportunities for all of its residents and such project shall serve Hudson students, among others.
Never in the discussion of the plan at the special meeting on Thursday, August 8, was the impact on community character mentioned or considered.

In Tillson's remarks after the vote, there was a hint that the written comments received from Warren Street business owners had been "taken into consideration" as he promised they would. "Whether you support this or not," said Tillson, "it's not an ideal location." Addressing the applicants, who represented the Galvan Foundation not the school districts involved, he continued, "We encourage you to look for another spot. If you haven't found one in two years, you need to come back."


  1. We should be ashamed of ourselves !
    Allowing this experiment by confining our local teenagers is like keeping guinea pigs locked in a cage with no exercise wheel.

    1. Yes Windle. You are right. This is very depressing.

  2. If the comprehensive plan states that a school for Hudson's residents is good for the community, I agree, but aren't a lot of these students going to be imported from other parts of the county. I wonder what Chatham,
    Kinderhook, Ancram, or Claverack, e tc would have to say if this school were being plunked down in the middle of their town, village or hamlet.

    On another note, I image that those in the business of selling drugs will be quite happy to hear about it.

    1. "On another note, I image that those in the business of selling drugs will be quite happy to hear about it."


    2. PS, there used to be a school in the village of Kinderhook, but the district mothballed it due to low attendance and eventually sold it to an art dealer. Valatie still has has the Martin Glynn school just outside the village proper.