Although the discussion of the subject, as it bounces from one committee or regulatory board to another, tends toward exasperating redundancy for someone who has been following this for more than a year, there are some new developments to report.
Hunt's letter goes on to explain the reasons for the Chamber's support for a project that Hudson residents living along Green Street and Fairview Avenue and elsewhere in the city have spoken against. The following paragraph is quoted from Hunt's letter:
Our support for the expansion is twofold, as a Chamber of Commerce, we generally support industry and business expansion because in general it increases our tax base (property, sales and gas taxes), creates and expands employment opportunities and finally the expansion encourages a safer pedestrian pathway to Hudson. Additionally, based on the merits of the Stewart's application the Chamber supports the Overlay district because of its goals are in line generally with what many of citizens of Hudson has been asking for. Those goals include the following: Requiring new mixed use developments in future developments, create a 5 minute pedestrian commute to the City of Hudson, establishes a standard of appearances for new developments and encourages more sidewalks and a safer corner for pedestrian traffic.Hunt goes on to dismiss concerns about the demolition of two houses and consequent loss of six or seven dwelling units with this sentence: "The housing stock that has caused some to think negatively about the expansion is being replaced just a few feet up Fairview Ave by new clean, safe and affordable housing units." The reference, of course, is to this building, which is finally nearing completion after being under construction for close to four years.
Chuck Marshall of Stewart's Shops also submitted a letter--his addressed to Council president Tom DePietro and the members of the Common Council. The letter asserts that Section 325-40 of the city code allows individuals to petition the Common Council for zoning amendments, outlines the community benefit of a larger store ("a brighter, more pleasant shopping experience"), talks about community wealth ("Employees of Stewart's Shops have the potential to become stockholders so we don't refer to them as employees for "Partners"), and argues that the Council should accommodate Stewart's because it amended the list of conditional uses in the R-S-C (Residential Special Commercial) district on the south side of the city to include hotels and allow The Wick Hotel on Cross Street to be developed, adding this comment: "Unlike 'The Wick,' Stewart's has not nor will it seek a Payment In Lieu of Taxes [PILOT] associated with its redevelopment."
The letter accompanied a draft for a host community benefit agreement, in which Stewart's promises, in exchange for the City adopting Stewart's proposed Green Street Overlay District, to give the City an undetermined amount of money for "the design, permitting and construction/installation of new pedestrian access at the intersection of Green Street and Fairview Avenue."
The proposed Green Street Overlay District would allow commercial enterprises as a conditional use in the area marked with magenta stripes on the map above. The proposed district would extend from just east of The Rosery on Green Street, wrapping the corner, to just south of ProPrinters on Fairview Avenue.
During the discussion at the Legal Committee meeting, city attorney Andy Howard reminded the aldermen, "Something is designated a nonconforming use with the notion that eventually it will go away." He also counseled them, "You have to ask how important is that service to the residents of that area." Responding to Howard's statements, Marshall told the group, "If Stewart's is unable to expand, it is our intention that we will eventually leave. We could sell the building to another operator, but you would still have a nonconforming use on that corner."
Howard outlined the Council's choices: they could find Stewart's proposal for a Green Street Overlay District acceptable as proposed; they could modify it; they could declare it unacceptable. He then posed the question: "Do we feel this would be appropriate and would not run afoul of a larger vision for the city?"
The committee decided to take another month to think about it.
COPYRIGHT 2018 CAROLE OSTERINK