Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Pattern for Progress at HCDPA

Yesterday, at its regular monthly meeting the board of Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency (HCDPA) heard from Joe Czajka of Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, the group that will be working on Hudson's Affordable Housing Development Plan. Czajka, who explained that they had just started the process, told the board they would be assessing and analyzing properties owned by the City, HCDPA, Hudson Housing Authority (HHA), "and even some private owned parcels," to come up with a strategy for building housing, primarily affordable housing, in Hudson. So far, Czajka said, they have, working with Mayor Kamal Johnson, identified a local advisory committee, made up of the following people:
  • Theresa Joyner, currently on the Planning Board
  • Revonda Smith, chair of the HHA Board of Commissioners
  • Mike Tucker, from Columbia Economic Development Corporation (CEDC)
  • Rebecca Wolff, currently a First Ward alderman
  • Darren Scott, from NYS Homes and Community Renewal
  • Michael Chameides, mayor's aide
  • Peter Bujanow, commissioner of Public Works    
Czajka advised that the Affordable Housing Development Plan, which is expected to be ready for adoption in November, will be a "living document" and not everything suggested in the plan will be developed. He noted that the plan would need to be reevaluated periodically "as markets change" and stressed, "It is important for the community to understand there is no one solution to the problem."

Betsy Gramkow, who chairs the Planning Board and is a member of the HCDPA board, asked about the proposals for the Depot District and JLE and how they will impact the work of developing an Affordable Housing Development Plan. Czajka said those projects were "in the pipeline" and noted, "Their timeline figures into our process." He went on to predict that it would be "no less than 36 months" before either project is completed, concluding, "Those projects will not solve the current problem." He said they would be "building those [projects] into our planning" but advised, "Often the solution is small development."


  1. Every time I see mention of another study or a plan, it reminds me of the beginning of every episode of Battlestar Galactica, where it mentions that the Cylons “have a plan.” But it was never really clear, and over time, you doubt that there was really ever a plan to begin with and they are just making it up as they go along.

  2. The Depot District project and that at JLE together won’t provide enough affordable housing for a city the size of Hudson? With our existing over abundance of subsidized and public housing? Wow.

    1. The Welfare State -- where no one has a job. the future

  3. We are a community of 6,000 people. I wonder how much low-income or affordable housing we already have compared to other towns our size? My hunch is that we already have way more than most places, which means that adding more housing of that class is simply expanding the size of our economically disadvantaged population.

  4. Interesting article, something to think about:

    Why our brains miss opportunities to improve through subtraction: Researchers explain the human tendency to make change through addition

    A new study explains why people rarely look at a situation, object or idea that needs improving -- in all kinds of contexts -- and think to remove something as a solution. Instead, we almost always add some element, whether it helps or not.

  5. Joe Czajka's statement that the projects currently proposed would not solve the current problem was not meant to imply a misapplication of solutions to the problem but rather a partial solution. His comment about small development was meant to say that there will be many developments needed at various sizes. Rebecca Wolff

    1. Given that you are a member of the local advisory committee, Rebecca, you can put words in Joe Czajka's mouth with more authority than I can, but I seemed to me he was saying that the two projects "in the pipeline," because they will take three years to complete, will not solve the immediate housing problem. Instead, smaller projects--such as Galvan rehabbing some of the many houses it owns around town--could provide affordable housing in a shorter period of time.

    2. Golly, alderperson, thanks for the tutorial. It was quite clear that this cart is well before the horse and indeed has no idea how large the horse is. Instead of wasting our time with unneeded remedial English lessons, perhaps you’d like to do your job? Too much like work? Take too much time from your Marxism study group?

  6. The Affordable Housing Plan should be finished before anything new starts. Indeed, 6000 people in Hudson? Peter and John's questions are dead right. How much do we need? Don't people commute to work anymore.?

  7. Joe Czajka has always struck me as professional, methodical, and thorough, though I think my only experience of watching him in action was during the creation of the Strategic Housing Action Plan, which was adopted by the Common Council and then broken down for scrap soundbites. I am cautiously optimistic, though I've never looked under the hood and haven't seen him in action enough to know how his rhetoric and his actions jibe.

    I do hope there is some focus on encouraging ADU development along the alleys, possibly with a short-term tax abatement for homeowners who finance construction through home equity (there's a bunch of that right now.) It would be a great way to spread affordable housing throughout the city, build wealth for existing homeowners, increase the tax-base in the long-term, and employ a variety of construction companies.

    While there are infrastructure, legislative, and land-use obstacles to overcome to adopt a plan like this, Hudson very much needs to update its zoning, and increasing access to the alleys seems as much an existing issue for emergency vehicles as a potential one at this point.

  8. The Galvan 7th st projects are under review with planning board. No review of the financials has yet occurred. The last iteration was withdrawn because of failure of the PILOT requested by Galvan. Reading these comments in Carole's article, it seems that the project is being spoken of as a done deal. That is disturbing if true. Again no attention to process or due diligence. Support or opposition arrived at before the reviews are complete. And also decision making in the absence of a comprehensive plan. The CC and the Mayor should hold off on taking positions until a) there is a plan and b) the various reviews of the proposed project are complete.

  9. Every time it rains the Hudson treatment plant dumps raw sewage mixed with disinfectants into the river. Not a great idea to add any new toilets in the city without first correcting the raw sewage overflow problem.

    1. Hudson indeed has an old old infrastructure that may not be able to bear all these new demands on its plumbing or its tax base.

      do we really need to turn Hudson into a Bronx-like public private housing project ? what happened to that small town feel and vibe ? soon it will be all gone down that archaic sewer system.

    2. Exactly---how many new housing units are proposed in the Depot District and the possible JLE project? 300? How will all these new units effect the current sewer & water infrastructure in Hudson ? If they are built with overly generous PILOTS where will revenues come from to maintain or upgrade what exists?

  10. New York Sewage Pollution Right to Know
    Issued: 04-15-2021, 18:40:01
    Affects: New York - Columbia - Hudson
    The Hudson (C) STP, NY0022039 is issuing this notification.

    Discharge location: 2 Dock Street, Hudson, NY
    Location details:
    Waterbody affected: Hudson River
    Discharge description:
    Potentially impacted public areas: Other -
    Discharge date and time: 04-15-2021 17:21:05
    Discharge duration: 4 Hours
    Discharge reason: Weather Conditions - Rain event caused high flows to system. CSO's will discharge intermittently throughout duration of event.
    Steps taken to contain discharge: Ensure all pumps are running to full capacity
    Volume/rate of discharge: 25,000 Gallons Estimated
    Treated state of discharge: Partially Treated with Disinfection