Last night's informal meeting of the Common Council lasted for not much longer than half an hour, but a few things happened during that time that merit reporting about.
In preparation for voting to enact the law regulating short term rentals in Hudson, Jeff Baker, counsel to the Council, walked the aldermen through Parts 2 and 3 of the full Environmental Assessment Form. When Council president Tom DePietro questioned the need to do this, Baker responded, "We're doing it in case someone sues us on this . . . as evidence we have taken a hard look." Baker went on to say, "The resolution shows we've gone through the process and reasserts our ability to do this." The resolution Baker referred to--a resolution to make a negative declaration regarding the action--was then introduced. The resolution will be voted on at the Council's regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, November 17.
agenda had been addressed, and DePietro asked if any members of the Council had any new business, Alderman Rebecca Wolff (First Ward) that she was "soliciting interest in working on two environmental initiatives." The first was banning idling in the city. The second was regulating takeout containers. Wolff said that most restaurants were using paper containers, but some are using "surprisingly sturdy" single use plastic containers. It was the latter she wanted to ban. She predicted, "It's going to be a growing issue," and she urged, "The city could set an example."
At a time when our restaurants are facing a long winter, and takeout will be a huge factor in their ability to survive, it seems an inappropriate time to impose regulations on the containers they use. Perhaps instead the people of Hudson should be encouraged to make those "surprisingly sturdy" plastic containers not single use. I recall an article not long ago in the Epicurious newsletter extolling the virtues of plastic deli containers for storing things in the kitchen. More than one of those "surprisingly sturdy" takeout containers Wolff mentioned are now in my refrigerator, storing things that might instead be in plastic bags or plastic wrap.
Legal Committee meeting on October 28, Baker suggested two courses of action: (1) designating specific areas in the city where speeding was a problem and passing a local law to reduce the speed limit in those areas; (2) through a home rule message to the state legislature, getting special legislation passed that would reduce the speed limit to 25 mph throughout the city. It was clear at last night's meeting that Merante is advocating for the second alternative. Baker said the next step would be passing a resolution and sending a home rule message to the state legislature. DePietro said he would like that resolution to be ready in time for the Council's regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, November 17.
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