Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Eighty New Apartments on State Street

The public design charrette last night, for the new buildings to be constructed on State Street, was well attended. Gathered around three tables to review, in turn, the site plan, the floor plans, the elevations and design renderings, current residents of Bliss Towers blended with members of the community at large to listen and comment. In addition to all the architects from PRC (Property Resources Corporation), who were presenting the plans and receiving comment, there were at least two architects from Hudson in the group providing input, along with community members with expertise in urban planning and urban design, a couple members of the Planning Board, a few members of the Housing Task Force, and some elected officials.

Gossips learned from Tim Mattice, executive director of the Hudson Housing Authority, that the design for the new buildings takes its inspiration from the building at North Sixth and Washington streets, originally Union Mills, now known as the Pocketbook Factory, and is meant to pay homage to Hudson's industrial past.

The building proposed for the corner of State and North Second streets, where retail shops are planned for the ground floor, will contain forty studio and one-bedroom apartments for seniors. The other building will have forty one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments for families. 

One of the criticisms heard of the proposed project was its location. In the past, any conversation about new HHA construction involved smaller buildings constructed on available lots throughout the city. This project seems to perpetuate or intensify the concentration of low-income households in one section of the city. The reason for the choice of location is obvious. There is very little vacant land in Hudson, and HHA already owns this parcel. There seems to be other thinking behind it as well. Instead of achieving the goal of economic diversity by relocating low-income households throughout the city, the idea may be to achieve economic diversity in this location. Both buildings are meant to be mixed income, with some units renting at market rate and others at different levels of affordability.

Describing the steps going forward, Mattice told Gossips he anticipated the architects and planners would use the comments received that evening to make revisions and would present the final plans at the HHA Board meeting on Wednesday, November 14. After that, the project would go to the Planning Board for site plan review. When I suggested that it might first have to go to the Zoning Board of Appeals for area variances (building height in Hudson is limited to three stories, and the proposed buildings are four stories), he told me they found out there was "no zoning" in that area. That seemed very unlikely, so this morning I checked the zoning map, and there is indeed zoning in that area.

The site of Bliss Towers and Providence Hall and the area on State Street where the new buildings are to be constructed are zoned G-C (General Commercial), and there is no indication in the code that a G-C district is not subject to the bulk and area regulations that apply everywhere else in the city. I thought perhaps the explanation was that, because HHA is a HUD agency, it might be exempt from local zoning regulations, as school districts are, but our code enforcement officer Craig Haigh says otherwise.


  1. before building more low income apartments, how about building some factories with jobs in Hudson for the people who live in the first ward.

    there are no jobs in hudson, there is no public transportation, there is no supermarket, and there are plenty of drugs and violence down there.

    hudson is the last place poor people should be housed if they want to get out of the dead end life of the ghetto.

    read the studies on how unlikely people in the first ward are to earn any money or get into even the lower middle class in their lifetimes.

    this is just a project to make liberals feel better about themselves while actually trapping the poor in a lifetime of poverty.

    and the school system is still one of the worst in new york state. sorry.

  2. apartments at market rate...…
    yeah sure, tell me just who would move into low income housing and pay market rate to live with lower class people in the worst section of Hudson
    and what business will open there
    hey kids I lived thru it before, the promises made by urban renewal in the 60's and 70's
    just another teepee on the reservation for lower income and people of color
    please stop the madness