Now, judging from what was reported in the meeting summary, Bonacio is suggesting that the Kaz site be added to the plan. The following is quoted from that meeting summary:
By including more parcels--and combining KAZ, Dunn, and the two parcels north of Dunn, a project could have less density. The development needs to have a minimum number of units to achieve economy of scale for development and property maintenance. With more parcels, the unit can be spread out more across space.A stumbling block for the master plan Bonacio may have in mind is the fact that Hudson Development Corporation, not the City of Hudson, owns and controls the Kaz site. On Tuesday, the Kaz site was an agenda item under "Old Business" at the HDC Board's monthly meeting.
The discussion started with board chair Bob Rasner reminding the board, once again, that the agency is "real estate rich and cash poor," HDC owns a large and valuable parcel that is off the tax rolls, and they need to take a serious look at "the disposition of the Montgomery Street property," a.k.a. the Kaz site, which now includes the parcel acquired from CSX in October 2019.
In the matter of the Kaz site, HDC doesn't seem to have moved much beyond where they were last month. Nick Haddad reported that the Kaz Committee had not met since the beginning of the pandemic. The options, however, seem to have been narrowed to selling the whole thing to a developer and expecting the developer to "sell their vision" to the community, or subdividing the parcel and selling the individual lots. Haddad suggested that subdivision would result in "a more robust tax base." Haddad also expressed the hope that "what we do down there is representative of the whole city." Phil Forman, who, in addition to serving on the HDC Board, chairs the Historic Preservation Commission, opined, "We can help shape that upfront." Steve Dunn suggested, "We should reach out to the Planning Board and the city to get a sense of what they are looking for." If by "city" Dunn meant elected officials, the answer is probably predictable: affordable housing.
Back in early 2019, when Walter Chatham and Mark Morgan-Perez were on the HDC Board, it seemed the notion of establishing a street grid in that area to replicate the pattern of streets in the rest of the city was an idea with legs. Determining a basic format for development was thought by some to be more responsible than just turning a sizable tract of land over to a developer. It's not clear if this idea still has supporters on the HDC Board. Even if it does, it's not clear how the street grid would be designed or carried out. It seems to be a perfect job for the Zoning and Planning Task Force, the creation of which was announced by Tom DePietro in August 2018. Unfortunately, if memory serves, that group met only once, a year later in September 2019, and, according to the resolution that created it, ceased to exist in December 2019.
What should be avoided is a course of action someone articulated at Tuesday's meeting: "Turn it all over to a Bonacio, and let them plan it." It seems that the DRI Committee may be contemplating just that, not only for the Kaz site but for the Dunn warehouse and the parcels along Water Street as well.
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