Sunday, February 25, 2018

Primum Non Nocere*

In January, the Historic Preservation Commission granted a certificate of appropriateness for the restoration planned for 260 Warren Street. Certificates of appropriateness have been granted for that building twice in the past, but both expired before the proposed work was undertaken. As it turns out, that was a good thing, because this time around, led by HPC architect member Kate Johns and guided by historic photographs of the building found in the Evelyn & Robert Monthie Slide Collection at the Columbia County Historical Society, the HPC got the applicant to agree to replicate the doors in the building's storefront exactly as they were originally--something the HPC had failed to do in the past.

The doors have been a cause of concern for quite a while. They were removed from the building more than twelve years ago. Kevin Walker, majordomo for the Hudson Preservation Group, the Galloway LLC that owned the building at the time (ownership has since passed first to Galvan Partners and then to Galvan Initiatives Foundation), told the HPC in 2007 or thereabout, that the doors were safe inside the building. Soon after he made that statement, the doors were seen being loaded onto a pickup truck and carted off to a garage on North Seventh Street, something Walker vehemently denied. Now, no one in the Galvan organization seems to know what happened to the doors or where they are now.

Certificate of appropriateness secured, work is now moving forward on the building. In recent weeks, the building has become studded with anchor ties--along its east and south facades, and it's the anchor ties that raise a question.

Three of the anchor ties installed on the front of the building (the south facade) go right through the marble lintel, and one of them appears to have cracked the stone.

Photo: Julie Metz

The Historic Preservation Commission is charged with preserving and protecting Hudson's historic architecture. That involves preserving the authentic fabric of our buildings. But once the HPC grants a certificate of appropriateness, who is responsible for overseeing the work to ensure that the methods and techniques employed do not damage the authentic fabric?

* Primum non nocere, "First, do no harm." 


  1. Looks like the crack was already there:

    1. Well spotted CW.

      The crackometer that's in place in the new photo suggests they're keeping a close eye on things, either to gauge the existing crack which has expanded continuously or to double-check that the new anchor doesn't worsen the situation.

      If the anchors were absolutely necessary, then these photos may demonstrate a wise approach after all.

  2. This is all the more reason to be skeptical of Galvan's attempt to contract-up with the County on its homeless hotel. A full investigation of Galvan/Galloway and their Hudson holdings (and "ghost apartments") make them as much a cause of homelessness as a putative remedy. And the conflicts of interest -- has anyone tracked Galvan/Galloway "donations"? -- in these holdings and the regulations that are flaunted should also be cause for concern.

  3. Replies
    1. You wish. Leonardo, you keep wishing that Galvan were a private enterprise. It is not. It is a non-profit and thus beholden to the taxpayer. Thus, due diligence is the least that Columbia County and DSS needs to perform -- on behalf of the public.

  4. What can the HPC, City of Hudson, legally do a property owner that fails to conform with HPC's Certificate(s)?

  5. My concern with the HPC is that it has no teeth. Why not empower them with the ability to do stop work orders and other means, such as fines, to keep cretins such as the Galvan organization from trampling on the protocols of historic preservation?

  6. If properly drafted, the certificate of appropriateness contains all the terms and agreements of the HPC approval; which are then incorporated by reference in the building permit. The building inspector has the "teeth" to enforce the conditions of the permit and the HPC certificate.