The agenda for Tuesday night's Planning Board meeting indicated that the public hearing on the two buildings proposed for the "Depot District" would continue. It did, but in fact there was very little public comment.
Lindsay Zefting of Alta Planning + Design was introduced as the traffic consultant retained to advise the Planning Board. Charles Gottlieb, the attorney working for Galvan on the project, took the opportunity to kvell, "It's been a long time since I have been involved in project with that much support," referring to the thirty-six form letters expressing support for the project submitted to the Planning Board. Gottlieb also noted that Galvan's responses to negative comments had been submitted to the Planning Board. Those responses begin of page 4 of the document found here. Chad Lindsay, engineer for Galvan, presented the plan for turning 602 Washington Street, the former location of Jack's Automotive & Towing, into a parking lot for tenants of the proposed building.
Lindberg said, "The overall plan is to repurpose the building now there," but to what purpose it might be put was not indicated.
An interesting part of the meeting came when Planning Board member Clark Wieman expressed concern about "Galvan's performance in the City of Hudson." He wondered, "Given Galvan's track record in Hudson, can this project be delivered?" He suggested there were other ways to solve the housing problem "relative to Galvan's inventory of properties in Hudson" and posited, "If the goal is to provide market rate and affordable housing . . . there is a case to be made to address the problem quickly or more quickly by dealing with Galvan's current inventory of properties."
At this point Wieman was interrupted by Victoria Polidoro, counsel to the Planning Board, who reminded him, "When a project comes before the Planning Board, this board is concerned not with the applicant but with the project on paper and its impact." When Wieman protested that he was addressing concerns raised by the public, Polidoro cautioned, "The public is welcome to say what they want to say. I just want to remind the board members that your role is to review the project as proposed and not look at outside actions by this developer."
Wieman's comments inspired Dan Kent of the Galvan Foundation to offer a litany of the foundation's achievements since its founding in 2012, chief among them completing construction on thirty-nine buildings in Hudson, noting that Galvan was the only organization that has developed any affordable housing in Hudson in the last decade. Wieman, however, remained skeptical, saying he had "strong concerns about Galvan's ability to manage a large project like this."
The recording of the entire Planning Board meeting can be found here. Wieman's comments begin at 2:12:14.
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