Sunday, October 27, 2019

About Those Frustrated Developers

Commenting on Kamal Johnson's interview on Channel 10 last week, Gossips mused about Johnson's statement that there were developers who owned vacant lots and wanted to build affordable housing units on them but were prohibited by the current zoning. I couldn't figure out what he was talking about. A reader helpfully directed me to Dan Udell's video of Future Hudson's final event, "Can We Talk About Housing?" It seems that the developers Johnson was referencing may have been just one: the Galvan Foundation. The vacant lots in question, owned by Galvan, are located at Fifth and Warren, Fourth and Columbia, and State and Seventh streets.

In his presentation, Dan Kent displayed renderings of the buildings Galvan would like to construct at these three locations--mixed use (residential and commercial) and mixed income buildings. (The images below are screen captures from Udell's video.)

Warren and Fifth Street

Fourth and Columbia Street

State and Seventh Streets
Kent's specific issue with the current zoning had to do with lot coverage at the corner of Fourth and Columbia streets, where the zoning limits lot coverage to 30 percent of the parcel, and the building being proposed would cover the entire site.

Some Gossips readers may recall that back in 2010, Eric Galloway's Lantern Foundation (Galloway being the Gal of Galvan) had a different idea for Warren and Fifth streets: thirty-three units of permanent supportive housing for men with mental disabilities and substance abuse problems. That project was abandoned when it met with vehement opposition from the community.

The rendering Kent shared for the building at Fourth and Columbia streets may be familiar to readers as well. It's essentially the same building proposed by Galvan in 2012 to house the police and city court on the ground floor with thirty-five studio apartments on the upper two floors for formerly homeless adults.
That project, known was "Civic Hudson," was abandoned because the New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP) would not approve the financing for the project in the face of objections from the Hudson Police Department, both the chief (then Ellis Richardson) and the rank and file, who thought it inappropriate to combine police and court facilities in the same building with residential units.

While some in Hudson believe the current affordable housing crisis cannot be adequately addressed, given the city's limited size geographically, without constructing apartment buildings of this size, there are others committed to solving the problem with buildings no bigger than those that currently exist on lots no bigger than what was the standard when the city was originally platted: 26 x 120 feet. The latter school of thought seems, to this observer, to be prevailing in any discussions now going on about developing the Kaz site, owned not by Galvan but by the Hudson Development Corporation.

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