Saturday, August 29, 2015

Proposed Garage Revision in Limbo

Unlike the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals, which meet only once a month, the Historic Preservation Commission meets twice a month--on the second Friday and the fourth Friday. At the first meeting of the month, the HPC reviews applications for certificates of appropriateness and directs the city attorney, who serves as counsel to the HPC, to draft the document granting or denying a certificate of appropriateness. The document is not boilerplate; it is meant to state with some specificity why a given project does or does not meet the requirements set forth in Hudson's preservation law. At the second meeting of the month, with the document before them stating the reasons for granting or denying a certificate of appropriateness, the HPC makes its final and official vote.

On August 14, with only five of the seven members present, the HPC voted on granting a certificate of appropriateness to the proposal to increase the height of the garage at 829 Warren Street to 19 feet. Three members were in favor (Peggy Polenberg, Phil Forman, Miranda Barry); two were opposed (David Voorhees and Rick Rector). Since four affirmative votes (the majority of the full commission) are needed to grant a certificate of appropriateness, the project was denied approval.

Yesterday, when it came time to vote on the language of the document denying the certificate of appropriateness, there were only four members present: Polenberg, Voorhees, Rector, and Forman. For the denial to be official, all four of them needed to vote in the affirmative. Polenberg did not. Rector, who chairs the HPC, indicated he would need to consult with counsel to determine what happens next.

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