Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Mysterious Activity on the Waterfront

For almost the entire first half of 2013, the City of Hudson negotiated with Holcim to get ownership of a parcel of land--slightly less than 10 acres--south of the port. The land transfer was necessary, we were given to believe, if the City was to get state and federal approval of its LWRP (Local Waterfront Revitalization Program). The City seemed amenable to making a fifty-year commitment in order to achieve this end, but it turned out that Holcim was unwilling to sign the agreement that they themselves had crafted.

In June, the Valley Alliance made public a surprising discovery: 4.4 acres of the sought-after land already belonged to the City. Back in 1981, the City had done a land swap with Holcim, then St. Lawrence Cement, and because it was--then as now--illegal for the City to divest itself of waterfront land, the transaction that transferred the ownership of that parcel in 1981 was null and void. The City still owned the 4.4 acres.

The City was skeptical about the discovery and spent months vetting the Valley Alliance's research. Finally, on October 15, Common Council president Don Moore announced, in an offhand way at the beginning of a Council meeting, that the City's investigations had determined that the Valley Alliance was right. Of the 9.96 acres the City was negotiating with Holcim to acquire, 4.4 acres already belonged to the City.  

Since October, the ramifications of this discovery--for the proposed land transfer with Holcim or for the LWRP--have never been discussed in a public meeting, but yesterday a Gossips reader reported that something is happening on that land. Brush has been bulldozed, and gravel is being laid down. 

The activity is going on in the area that presumably is still owned by the City of Hudson. The question is: Who is doing this and why?

The map showing the location of the 4.4 acres was created by the Valley Alliance. This map was also used to show the location of the current activity.


  1. But if it's not the city doing then clearing, then ... call out the SWAT team!!!

    Don't forget that more than acreage is required for the Department of State to authorize Hudson's waterfront program (its LWRP). The state requires Cheryl Roberts' entire complicated deal with Holcim to be honored, and that includes a "conservation easement" and public access across the causeway.

    It was the "lawyerese" wording of that weasely deal that's had the city hoisted on its petard ever since. Getting left out to dry by Holcim just added to the entertainment value of the thing.

  2. Maybe a helipad for Giffy's back yard?

  3. This is a very straight forward question .What is the answer ?

  4. Who do we know that has access to lots of gravel?

  5. The answer is: Amtrak. The rail company, which took over the lines from Amtrak earlier this year, is doing repairs to switches and rail. The material temporarily piled in the Gossip's picture is "ballast" used to form the bed for railroad ties. The section of the City's land in use has never been fenced and is one place where people have driven and walked for a long time to get right up to the shoreline (and dump trash). A photo from slightly farther back toward the railroad tracks (sent separately to Gossips) shows new rails stacked along the access road adjacent to the West side of the tracks.

  6. Aargh....which took over the lines earlier in the year from CSX....

  7. Well yes, thank you, but that still doesn't explain how AMTRAK activities can take place on city property.

    It's quite a leap between observing that "the section of the City's land in use has never been fenced and is one place where people have driven and walked," to acknowledging that a private interest is now clearing and grading the same site!

    How are the circumstances any different from Furgary continuing to use its own small portion of city waterfront?

    To all appearances, this is a colossal double standard.

  8. So, Amtrak "trucked" in ballast? It's Amtrak, not Am truck. That ship ain't right! One week from now, the city judge will have either "justify" the Furgary fence or remove it.

    Ancient, well worn paths are protected, not just for truckers on a truck route but also for fishermen, making their way to shore...