Thursday, June 16, 2022

Highlights from the Planning Board Meeting

Tuesday's Planning Board meeting went on for close to three hours. Much of the time was taken up discussing the sound attenuation plan submitted by PBF Hudson and trying to come to agreement on whether or not the plan satisfied the Planning Board's concerns. In the end, with a vote of four to three, it was decided that it did. John Cody, Gene Shetsky, Larry Bowne, and Dustin Duncan voted to accept the plan; Clark Wieman, Valerie Wray, and Theresa Joyner voted against accepting the plan.

A couple of other things worthy of attention were considered at the Planning Board meeting, the first being the "Depot District."

The Planning Board has yet to grant site plan approval to Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the proposed Depot District--Phase 2 being the building proposed for 76 North Seventh Street and the parking lot proposed for the corner of Sixth and Washington streets, and Phase 3 being the building proposed for 75 North Seventh Street. The Galvan Foundation is now seeking site plan approval for Phase 2, and on Tuesday, the Planning Board got to see the most up-to-date drawings for 76 North Seventh Street, the apartment building planned for the east side of the street (formerly identified as 708 State Street).

Commenting on the new renderings, Planning Board member Larry Bowne observed, "What is before us now is significantly different from what went through SEQR." He noted that the window openings in the drawing they had seen previously were "in sympathy with the openings in the Pocketbook Factory" and "the more recent version has substantially fewer windows." (Gossips made the same observation in April when revised drawings were presented to the Historic Preservation Commission.) Below is the original rendering presented both to the Planning Board and to the HPC.

Bowne went on to say of the newest version of the design, "This looks like low-income housing, out of character with its context. This is a significant departure, and it makes me anxious."

Dan Kent responded by saying the changes in fenestration had been made in response to requests from the HPC. That's not exactly true. The HPC focused on the treatment of the ground floor storefronts, and the alterations to the fenestration on the upper floors were made concurrent with the alterations to the storefronts. The real explanation of the changes in fenestration came from Jason Anderson, the architect for the building. The current placement of the windows is being determined by the layout of the apartments inside the building. There was no interior plan that went with the fenestration shown in the original drawing.

No action was taken on this project on Tuesday, and it will be taken up again at the board's July meeting.

Another project of interest that came before the Planning Board on Tuesday was a new neighborhood of rowhouses and single family homes being planned for Hudson Avenue.

In 2016, the Common Council passed a zoning amendment to allow residential structures to be built on this land, which had previously been zoned I-1 (Industrial). At that time, the construction of a row of four attached townhouses was being proposed.

The plan now being presented calls for two blocks of four townhouses, six freestanding houses, and an octagonal structure. 

Walter Chatham, who owns the land and is proposing the subdivision, said he wants the new development to "look and feel like the rest of Hudson." He is thinking of the artery on which the freestanding houses are located as a shared driveway rather than a street and wants it to be paved with gravel. When asked if there would be sidewalks, Chatham answered, "I prefer not to do a concrete sidewalk because it would make it too much like Warren Street." To this, Planning Board member Clark Wieman responded, "Without sidewalks, this is going to look and feel more like Greenport than Hudson."

The Planning Board decided to classify the project as an Unlisted Action under SEQR and declare itself lead agency in a coordinated environmental review. 


  1. PBF looks good, everything else should just get a no. Simple, just say no, no and no. If someone wants to build, make them build something that matches the houses in the surrounding neighborhood.

  2. Definitely 'NO' - since they've changed their plans. Galvan's project looks more like the Bronx than ever. No, no, no.

  3. Is there really a need for all of this block style housing? Who is going to move here for that? Have there been studies done on that? Hudson's population has been declining. Also, couldn't Galvan be asked to finish numerous renovation projects first and open up those buildings to new and existing residents?

    1. Good question. They'll have to advertise out for low income people, as they did in the past - Hudson used to be a welfare town in '70's and early '80's. Also its the County Seat so all the Social Services offices are in Hudson. However, no grocery stores or efficient bus services.

  4. Hudson, according to Conde Nast Traveler,is one of the 27 Most Beautiful Towns in America to live. Our affordable housing deserves to be included in that designation. The trend is to move away from the outdated, bleak affordable designs of the modernist era and instead, to have new affordable housing models to incorporate sustainable features that reduce the cost of construction maintenance, technologies that help empower residents and connect them to outside resources, and greater reverence for human scale and connection to the street. The design of affordable housing can greatly improve the impacts of parental stress, which in turn positively impacts parenting and the positive outcomes for the children's health and cognitive development. We are a city of innovators. We can do so much better. Let's be a model for great affordable housing. Let's consider, in our affordable housing, innovative approaches to child care and senior care, nutrition, community involvement, and thoughtful design materials.
    Good design is not an elitist thing, it is a given right and should be equally available to both the affluent and the less affluent.

  5. This will be a great addition to Hudson. I wish it wasn't a Galvan project and I don't quite understand how a private company can use state funds to develop it but it can't continue to rot.