Thursday, July 11, 2019

Self Storage in Hudson

Before the public hearing about Colarusso began on Tuesday night, there was a public hearing on Carmine Pierro's proposal to create a self-storage facility at the corner of Fairview Avenue and Oakwood Boulevard. In Dan Udell's video of meeting, the presentation of the project and the public comment about it begins at 19:04.

In presenting the project, Pierro said that Carlee Holdings, the LLC of which he is a principal, owns five parcels in that part of the city and paid $25,125 in property taxes in 2018--presumably on all five parcels, two of which are houses, not just on the vacant lot at Fairview and Oakwood. He presented the tax figure as evidence that renting the lot for parking "just wasn't cutting it" and to justify his new enterprise: turning the lot into a self-storage facility.

During the public hearing, several people commented--none in support of the project. There were concerns about traffic and about the impact of this project on the character of the neighborhood. Eileen Halloran, Fifth Ward alderman, pointed out that nothing like this existed in Hudson and advised that it was "premature to introduce something so different in Hudson before there is a new comprehensive plan." Theresa Nicholson, who lives diagonally across Oakwood Boulevard from the proposed facility, warned, "It would set a precedent for all vacant lots in Hudson," and asserted, 'There are enough self-storage facilities in Greenport." Nicholson told the Planning Board, "The neighborhood doesn't want it." Nicole Vidor commented, "This neighborhood is cared for. It's a residential neighborhood." She went on to say that wood, the proposed material for the units, deteriorates very quickly and predicted that it would look good for only a couple of years. She concluded, "This is a very unfair thing to do to a neighborhood."

Pierro maintains that what he is proposing is a permitted use and only requires site plan review, but is it?

The lots along Fairview Avenue that back up on the Boulevards are zoned General Commercial (G-C). (Back in 1968, when Hudson's zoning code was adopted, there was a takeout restaurant--a "fish fry"--on that lot.) Searching the uses listed in the zoning code, I cannot find "self-storage facility" listed anywhere, only this, as a conditional use in the Central Commercial District (C-C): "Wholesale storage or warehousing within a fully enclosed building, provided that not more than 8,000 square feet of floor area is so used"; and this, as a conditional use in the General Commercial District (G-C): "Wholesale storage and warehousing, including food, fuel and building materials, but excluding junkyards and secondhand lumberyards." Neither is the same as a self-storage facility. 

Hudson's zoning code provides that only those permitted uses listed in the code may exist. If it is not listed, it may not exist. I can't find "self-storage facility" listed as a use anywhere in the code. I doubt that such things even existed when Hudson adopted its zoning in 1968. So, why is this out-of-character proposal, for a use that is not mentioned in the code, being considered a permitted use?

The Planning Board is holding the public hearing on this proposal open and will accept written comments about it. The names and email addresses of the Planning Board members can be found here.


  1. This was Hudson Meeting Theater of the Absurd at its finest.

    Cappy passed around washed-out pictures downloaded from the interwebz, printed off-center and running of the cheapest grade paper available at Staples, while gesticulating at a map too small for anyone to see.

    The idea seemed beyond ridiculous and impractical: a storage “facility” consisting of cheap sheds like you find outside Lowes, sitting on pallets, with no lighting or apparent security, organized in a ring around the edge of a derelict parking lot. (I nearly lost it when one Board Member almost hit another in the face with the microphone, trying to pass it back to the speaker.)

    Multiple neighbors correctly noted that this is out of keeping with the area, and that traffic is already a nightmare whether turning onto or off Parkwood.

  2. Carole, thank you for covering this. I do not think this use would have been permitted, under any reasonable understanding of zoning.

  3. Creative thinking on Mr. Pierro's part indeed. Perhaps he can think outside the little box and ask around for profitable but correct uses for this lot? Do we ever learn from past experience -- Stewart's ? A bunch of slap shot planning in this corridor in the past and unfortunately, today.

  4. That space is much too small for this use. Is this guy serious? Why even waste time considering it?

  5. At the Public Hearing we were treated to an application for a gravel dump and some storage sheds. Go, Hudson!