Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Word on Those 4.4 Acres

At the Council meeting last night, before the wrangling over 701 Union Street got started, Council president Don Moore announced that the title search commissioned to test the veracity of the Valley Alliance's revelation that the City was negotiating with Holcim for land it already owned confirmed that the Valley Alliance was right. 

Of the 9.97 acres that Holcim was offering to the City, with conditions that would be in place for fifty years, 4.4 acres had been illegally sold by the City to Holcim (then St. Lawrence Cement) in 1981. Since the sale was illegal, the 4.4 acres still belong to the City of Hudson. 

The map is from the Valley Alliance website.


  1. Wow. I should of bought you that drink last night Sam. Next one is on me, but really we as a city should be sending you a gift basket.

  2. Aren't we (the city) using the same law firm now that we were using then ?
    Agreed Dawn, a big thank you to Sam and all involved !


  3. Not if the city's ownership of this land is sufficient grounds for the disastrous LWRP to be authorized, the "Local Waterfront Revitalization Program."

    I maintain that pursuing this matter could have waited, especially since the erstwhile landowner, Holcim (US) Inc., had abandoned its earlier assurances that it would gift such lands to the city in exchange for the sweetheart zoning we gave them in 2011.

    This finding which others knew about but were able to keep to themselves is likely a disaster, but at least it saves face for the likes of Mr. Moore, Ms. Roberts and all of the irresponsible or craven aldermen of 2011 who put their misplaced trust in the corporate landowner's attorneys rather than in Hudson's outraged residents.

    Seen from my perspective, that would be a mightily perverse gift basket.


  4. Prison AlleyJune 3, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    Excellent work. It's so insane, yet so "Hudson" that the City Attoney Carl G.(GIF) Whitbeck Jr., who handled this now highly questionable "sale" from City of Hudson to SLC in 1981, is now the Assist. City Attorney , who helped City Atty. Cheryl Roberts and C.C. Pres. Donald Moore, fight tooth and nail Against the very citizens' that pay
    Deny , their most simple and reasonable request, to have a
    Phase II ESA conducted on this same industrial fill and sediment land..and rest of 9.968 acres, that City of Hudson has to accept "AS IS" in exchange for 50 yrs. of crippling conditions ,dictated by Holcim(US),Inc., to become owners of this"land" All of this mess caused,just so
    CC Pres.Moore's and City Atty. Robert's disastrous LWRP could be implemented.
    A LWRP,that no citizens wanted, save one.
    Now these amazing new discoveries, by Valley Alliance
    makes clear along with numerous other things ,just how long all this sloppiness and highly questionable legal practices of "City Hall" & their Associates. has been going on, just on these 4.4 one can imagine, or not ,what else goes on here in"City Hall", as the norm.
    Great earlier piece by Sam Pratt on this 4.4 acres.
    Posted by Gossips of Rivertown on FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2013
    "Commenting from Elsewhere"
    ..inspired ,I believe ,by
    these comments made following Gossips of Rivertown's Post
    FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2013
    "Defining the Location of Standard Oil"
    "At Wednesday's Common Council Legal Committee meeting, assistant city attorney Carl Whitbeck produced an 1888 atlas map which showed all the buildings in the First Ward and along the river but did not show anything labeled "Standard Oil." Indeed, it did not even include the area where Standard Oil is believed to have been. Still, the 1889 Sanborn map shows a cluster of structures on the river labeled "Standard Oil Co."

    Gizmo April 26, 2013 at 1:46 PM
    I'm starting to wonder how much money this 10-acre adventure is costing the City of Hudson? A lot of legal time has been invested, plus the cost of a Phase I environmental review, a title search, and possibly more expenses yet to come. If Holcim sells its property to another entity and walks away from its deal with the City, there is going to be plenty of egg on the faces of some at City Hall, and the taxpayers will be left holding the bag once again.


    John K. FriedmanApril 26, 2013 at 2:19 PM
    "The City has paid I believe $3500 for the title and phase 1. Cheryl's time is covered by her firm's retainer (so, the opportunity cost), and Gif's time the other night was pro bono. He clearly has a real love for the history of Hudson and has quite a few relic-like maps of the city going back a lot of years. It's too bad there were so few in the audience for the Legal Committee (which admittedly tends to the rather dry and long meeting) -- it was fascinating stuff to see."

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  6. Prison, you might have written this instead:

    "These amazing new discoveries ... just so CC Pres. Moore's and City Atty. Robert's disastrous LWRP could be implemented."

    These same officials are now handed a victory. The news greatly advances their LWRP towards authorization and ties the public's hands further. It has given away key leverage that we never even got to use, and for what overall strategy? Why now? And why the VA's decision only?

    As an ominous leg-up, these "amazing new discoveries" will been understood in retrospect as unforced errors, ever the risk of mistaking tactics for strategies.

  7. This city’s LWRP, that incarcerates indigent citizens for fishing must be challenged; In Martin v. Waddell, the U.S. Supreme Court held that in America, as in England, the public has a “liberty of fishing in the sea, or creeks, or arms thereof, as a public common of piscary.” (Fishing place.)

    1. Most interesting! Thanks JG, I never heard of that case.

  8. One of our Rod & Gun members has been charged with trespassing while fishing from the Hudson shore.

    The DA was dumbfounded when he answered innocent to the charge and adjourned. He will be in court on the 24th for a hearing...

    From the National Organization of Rivers:
    "Public access to streams, and trails along streams, is further supported by the legal doctrines of custom and prescription. Willow River Club v. Wade, 100 Wis. 86, 76 N.W. 273 (1898). Taylor v. Commonwealth, 102 Va. 759, 47 S.E. 875, 102 Am.St.Rep. 865 (1904). Day v. Armstrong, 362 P.2d 187 (Wyo. 1961). People v. Mack, 97 Cal. Rptr. 448, 19 Cal. App. 3d 1040 (1971). Montana Coalition for Stream Access v. Curran, 210 Mont. 38 (1984)".

    1. Joe, I was hoping you'd report on this development, the implications of which are astounding.

      The cases you listed surely go back to our rights under the crown, and were established before Magna Carta.

      But gauging by the attitudes of our betters in City Hall, such "customs and prescriptions" are too old to concern ourselves with.

      When I pointed out that the Proprietors had explicitly left Parade Hill to the Common Council, all that any incredulous official would say was that "those laws are over 200 years old!"

      "Your point?," I would ask.

  9. This is claiming that “Magna Charta was a farce.”

    From the National Organization of Rivers;

    Wherever the land along the river is fairly flat, the ordinary high water mark can be quite some distance from the edge of the water, when the river is at medium levels. So there can be plenty of room for picnics, camping, walking, and other activities. The courts have ruled that any and all non-destructive activities on this land are legally protected. Public use of the land is not part of an "easement," rather it's a case of actual public ownership of the land.

  10. A group of citizen fishermen, robbed of shore, gathering in the only place to launch..."any and all non destructive use"

  11. Great stuff, Joe Gallo and Unheimlich. The Magna Carta lives, I believe it though I've never seen it. Must visit the British Library.