The Planning Board is expected to recommend against the amendment. Although the specific reason for making this recommendation will not be known until the Common Council receives a letter from the Planning Board, it is believed that the letter will urge to Council to undertake comprehensive zoning revisions rather than making specific zoning changes.
The parcels in question are located in the Waterfront Revitalization Area--the portion of the city that was comprehensively rezoned in 2011 when the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program was adopted by the Common Council. Although, in the LWRP, this particular area of the city, surrounding what was originally the Gifford-Wood Company, retained its I-1 zoning, the LWRP is clear in its support of the very change now being proposed. On pages 74 and 75, the LWRP speaks specifically about this site: "The City proposes to maintain the industrial zoning but acknowledges that this site has great potential for residential, commercial, and recreational uses. A zoning change in the future to accommodate nonindustrial development would be consistent with the LWRP."
The zoning amendment now proposed is also getting flak from a neighbor on East Allen Street whose backyard abuts the western tip of the largest of the three parcels. Although she opposes the amendment, she does not have a problem with the plan to construct four row houses on the west side of Hudson Avenue. What she finds unacceptable is the larger vision for the area, which Walter Chatham, the architect who owns and wants to develop the parcels, described in a letter to property owners in the immediate vicinity. Last week, Chatham shared the letter with Gossips. The following is quoted from that letter:
RSC Zoning is the equivalent of R-4; permitting 3-story multiple dwellings and general commercial uses. We are requesting this zoning because we believe that it is the highest and best use for the site, which is on a one-block-long public street across from the Hudson Little League Field. We believe that this proposed zoning is consistent with the Hudson Comprehensive Plan and Draft Apprendices; which encourage the conversion of under-utilized industrial land for commercial and residential use.
Allowing commercial uses would permit "Live/Work Units"--owner or tenant-occupied buildings that provide both shelter and the means to make a living. These are increasingly popular and provide much needed start-up spaces for all types of businesses. Specific types of businesses imagined would be a mix of small specialty shops with neighborhood features such as a deli/newsstand, small restaurants, etc.
In order to accommodate this idea, we are hoping to provide an old/new building type on Hudson Avenue: two and three story buildings with retail/commercial and office on the ground floors and residences above. These buildings were the backbone of small-scale property ownership in cities like Hudson in the 19th century, and they allow many different types of occupancy to occur, so the use of the property can change over time to remain "useful." It makes sense to try to emulate the most desirable parts of "old" Hudson in a new "addition" to the City Father's Plan.The ironic thing about the opposition to the zoning amendment based on the larger vision for the area is that the elements considered worrisome and objectionable in the plan--delis, restaurants, specialty shops--are permitted by the current I-1 (Industrial) zoning. The only thing that is not permitted in an industrial zone is housing, and it is for the construction of houses that the zoning amendment is being sought.
COPYRIGHT 2016 CAROLE OSTERINK