This morning, the Historic Preservation Commission approved signs for two new businesses in Hudson that Gossips mentioned a few weeks ago in the post "Preserving Community Character": Savona's Trattoria and Westerlind. The post was about Article XIV of the city code, which prohibits chain stores and formula retail uses in Hudson. The law defines a chain as having four or more other establishments in operation.
Savona's Trattoria, which is having its soft opening today, is the fourth restaurant of its kind, the others being in Red Hook, Kingston, and Poughkeepsie. With the restaurant in Hudson, Savona's reaches the threshold for being a chain, as defined by Hudson's law. Because the Hudson location is the fourth location, there is no problem. That is not the case with Westerlind.
At the Common Council Legal Committee meeting on Wednesday, committee chair Margaret Morris (First Ward) brought up the issue of chain retail stores. Morris suggested that Local Law No. 3 of 2018, the law that created Article XIV, was not well written. "What if," she speculated, "a chain originates in Hudson?" She also questioned how the law was enforced. If a new business is a permitted use in the zoning district where it is located, and there is no change of use, site plan review by the Planning Board is not required. This is obviously what happened in the case of Westerlind.
Correction: DePietro cited Applestone to illustrate the potential problem of a business opening additional locations after establishing a business in Hudson. He asserted that, at the time the Hudson facility opened in 2019, Applestone had plans for "four or five more" locations. Exactly what DePietro said can be heard here, beginning at about 48:05.
Because a retail establishment filled with vending machines dispensing meat was a change of use at the proposed location, Applestone was subject to site plan review by the Planning Board, which wasn't the case for Savona's or Westerlind. The minutes from the Planning Board meeting for October 11, 2018, at which the project was presented, indicate that it was made clear in the presentation that the Hudson location would be Applestone Meat Company's third location, below the threshold established in the law. This is confirmed by an article that appeared in lohud.com: "'Horn & Hardart' of butchers opens new location in Hudson; Westchester is next." Applestone, which ceased operations last summer, only ever had four locations: Stone Ridge, Accord, Hudson, and Eastchester. When the company went out of business in July 2021, there were three locations: Stone Ridge, Hudson, and Eastchester.
The law and possible revisions to it will be a topic of discussion at the next Legal Committee meeting. Morris asked the members of the committee--Theo Anthony (Fourth Ward), Art Frick (First Ward), Mohammed Rony (Second Ward), Ryan Wallace (Third Ward)--to "think about the purpose of it" in preparation for the discussion.
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