Two years ago, an active and flourishing community garden was divided in half so that Columbia County Habitat for Humanity could build two passive houses on the site. Now that those houses are built and occupied, Habitat for Humanity is, predictably, eyeing the rest of the site. Gossips has learned that Brenda Adams, executive director of Habitat, appeared before the board of HCDPA (Hudson Community Development & Planning Agency, which owns/owned the site of the twenty-year-old community garden) in August to initiate her appeal for the other three lots that once made up the garden--302, 304, 306 Columbia Street--in order to build three more of Habitat's signature passive houses.
The lack of affordable housing in Hudson has been an issue ever since 2002, when two Victorian town houses on Warren Street, which had been divided up into six apartments, were sold, gutted, and turned into state-of-the-art loft space, and one of the former tenants went to the press to complain about not being able to find a suitable new apartment in Hudson. Since then, the issue of affordable housing has been on and off the radar of city government.
In the past decade, there have been various proposals to address the problem, but Housing Resources' Hudson Homesteads, Crosswinds, and the thirteen one-family houses Habitat has so far constructed in Hudson are the only projects that have actually been carried out. It would seem that, given a city whose built and buildable area is less than one square mile and with so many people wanting to live here and needing affordable housing, we should be looking for solutions that make better use of our limited land area than building new single-family houses. Perhaps what we should be encouraging and enabling are new three- and four-story apartment buildings, sensitively designed to be compatible with the city's historic architecture and constructed in the city's available vacant spaces.
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