Sunday, December 10, 2023

Meetings of Interest in the Week Ahead

As the days get shorter and shorter, and we move toward the longest night of the year, here's what is happening.
  • On Monday, December 11, the Common Council holds its informal meeting at 6:00 p.m. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.
  • On Tuesday, December 12, Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency (HCDPA) holds its monthly meeting at 5:00 p.m. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.
  • At 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 12, the Planning Board holds its regular monthly meeting. The Colarusso haul road is on the agenda, and it is expected that the Planning Board may finally get around to some serious deliberation about the application without further input from Colarusso's attorney John Privatera. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely. 
  • Also at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 12, the Hudson City School District Board of Education holds its monthly meeting. The meeting will be livestreamed on YouTube. Click here, then click on "Live," to view the meeting. The agenda for the meeting can be found here.
  • On Friday, December 15, the Historic Preservation Commission meets at 10:00 a.m. At this meeting, it is expected that a proposal for dealing with the limewash illegally applied to 501 Union Street will be presented. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.

Friday, December 8, 2023

Overnight Parking on Weekends

When you park your car tonight, in a spot where you intend to leave it until morning, be aware that the suspension of alternate side rules for overnight parking has ended. Because tomorrow's date is odd, cars must be parked tonight on the odd side of the street, i.e. where the house numbers are odd. On Saturday night, cars parked overnight should be on the even side of the street.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Who's Buying The Wick?

At the end of September, Gossips reported that a partnership of Jeremy Selman, Gabriel Katz, and Sean Roland was buying The Wick Hotel at 41 Cross Street. In fact, the trio was looking into buying The Wick and had entered into a sixty-day due diligence period of fact finding. 

At yesterday's meeting of the Hudson IDA (Industrial Development Agency), Mike Tucker reported that Selman, Katz, and Roland had withdrawn as buyers of The Wick because of some requirements related to the hotel's Tribute Portfolio designation, of which they had previously been unaware. Tucker said there was another buyer but did not indicate who the new buyer was.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Welcome News

After the pandemic, the Hudson City School District Board of Education was quick to return to in person only meetings. The City of Hudson, by contrast, still offers hybrid meetings and posts the videos of the meetings on YouTube, so, if you were not able to be part of the meeting on Zoom, you can watch later. 

Today, HCSD took a giant step toward transparency when it announced that, starting with the one scheduled for Tuesday, December 12, meetings of the Board of Education will be broadcast live on the district's YouTube channel. Of course, "broadcast live" just means you can watch what's happening. It doesn't mean you can ask a question or make a comment, as you could if the meeting were available on Zoom. Still, it's a step in the right direction. 

Here is the press release that was issued by HCSD this afternoon.
The Hudson City School District Board of Education is pleased to announce that its meetings will be broadcast live on the school district's YouTube channel.
The first broadcast, featuring a special section honoring student-athletes during the fall sport season, will be Tuesday, Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. Visit YouTube at and click "Live" to watch. Visit for the agenda; if it is not immediately available, please check again closer to the meeting time. The public also is invited to attend the meeting in person at the Hudson Junior/Senior High School Auditorium.
The decision to broadcast Board of Education meetings is in response to community requests. It's also representative of the Board of Education's commitment to transparency and partnering with the community.
"We know our community greatly cares about actions by the Board of Education, and how those discussions and decisions affect our students, faculty and families," said Superintendent Dr. Juliette Pennyman. "Families have busy schedules and work commitments, sometimes making it difficult to attend Board meetings in person. While in-person attendance is always welcome, broadcasts that are recorded and posted on YouTube provide the ability to watch online, when most convenient, at any time day or night."
Board of Education President Willette Jones said, "Broadcasting the Board's meetings is another way to engage with our community--and for our community to engage with the Board. Now, families will have the ability to watch meetings whenever most convenient, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That's very important for families that are constantly on the go."
Public Comment segments of Board of Education meetings provide an opportunity for the community to speak to the Board. Currently, online viewers will not be able to participate. However, comments emailed to the board clerk at will receive a written response. The in-person Public Comment session will still occur for those in attendance.
Streaming is not new to the Hudson City School District. The Board of Education broadcast its meetings online during the Covid pandemic, and Hudson Senior High School's graduation ceremonies have been streamed for three years.
Meet members of the Board of Education at Board meetings typically are held every other Tuesday. View a meeting schedule at

A Plan Coming Together

In May, Gossips reported that the Columbia Land Conservancy (CLC) was seeking to acquire land in North Bay that belonged to the Hudson Industrial Development Agency (IDA). The parcel in question is labeled C on the map below. It is immediately adjacent to the Hudson Dog Park, located on the City-owned parcel labeled E on the map. 

Today, the IDA unanimously approved a resolution to issue a negative declaration in the SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review) process. The purchase agreement, which will convey the property for $1, will be voted on at the IDA meeting in January.

When CLC originally made its proposal to the IDA, the plan was to build trails to connect Charles Williams Park to the Greenport Conservation Area and to the network of trails that goes all the way north to Harrier Hill. The plan now includes a dog friendly trail from the Hudson Dog Park down to the river, to give the dogs and their humans a nature trail walking experience in addition to the dog park experience.

Photo: Jonathan Simons

When Will They Return?

City meetings have been taking place at the Central Fire Station since February. In March, city offices, along with the beloved trash bag vending machine, moved to the Central Fire Station. Now that the renovations needed to make 520 Warren Street universally accessible have been completed, one wonders when city government will be moving back to City Hall.

Although the renovations to the first floor are now complete, additional asbestos remediation in the basement still needs to done before city offices and meetings can return to the building. Last month, when Gossips asked mayor's aide Michael Hofmann about the government's return to City Hall, he provided this information:
We do not currently have an anticipated return date, but will make plans and inform the public well in advance, once a contractor for the additional remediation is procured and scheduled to do the work. That said, considering how our City Hall offices have a heavy workload during December and January, and considering the potential lead times for contractor mobilization, we do not anticipate returning to 520 Warren Street prior to February 2024.

What Is Proposed Does Happen

Gossips readers may remember the controversial proposal by Verizon to install communications equipment on the roof of Providence Hall. After a review that went on for more than a year, the Planning Board finally granted site plan approval but not without a number of conditions. 

In July 2021, Verizon sued the City because of the "unreasonable, unenforceable and arbitrary and capricious" conditions the Planning Board had imposed, for dragging out the review of the project, and for the "exorbitant fees" the Planning Board had exacted from Verizon in escrow payments for the consultant who advised the Planning Board in this matter. The lawsuit was settled in November 2021. In the settlement, Condition 5 of the Planning Board's site plan approval, which required that the final plan for a stealthing structure around the antennae be approved by an architect chosen by the Planning Board, was amended to require that approval be granted within thirty days of submitting the design for review. 

This is the rendering of the stealthing structure that was presented to the Planning Board during its review process. 

Two years later, the project is finally moving forward, and the stealthing structure is under construction. The picture below was taken this morning.


Monday, December 4, 2023

The Curse of Trucks

The Common Council ad hoc Truck Route Committee meets on Wednesday, December 6. At its last meeting, the committee turned its attention to routes within the city for trucks that have to leave the state truck routes to get to their destinations. It's likely they will continue that discussion at Wednesday's meeting. Something the committee members need to bear in mind is what happens when trucks stray off the state truck routes.

This past March, Gossips reported about an eighteen-wheeler that reportedly "ripped off the rear end of an SUV" while trying to negotiate a turn off Warren Street onto North Fourth Street. How the truck had gotten to that point and where it was going remains a mystery.

Something similar happened on Friday on South Second Street, between Allen and Partition streets. A car parked on Second suffered significant damage when, according to eyewitnesses and security cameras in the area, it was struck by a white eighteen-wheeler. The truck was probably turning off Allen Street onto to Second, but what a truck of that size was doing in that part of the city and where it was heading is unknown. Whatever the reason, the truck driver didn't bother to stop after hitting the car.

In the summer of 2022, an eighteen-wheeler got stuck in that very same area, trying to execute a turn from Second Street onto Allen, and cars had to be moved out of its way. The driver of that truck claimed he had been following the directions provided by his GPS.

In November 2022, an eighteen-wheeler bound for Harney Tea had to be stopped and redirected from the route his GPS had dictated--a route that would have had the truck reach its destination by way of Robinson Street!

It seems whatever is written into the code or in a directive issued by the police commissioner it is of no matter if GPS is unaware of it. The task before the Truck Route Committee is Herculean.

Returning to the Subject of Paint

It's not often that the Historic Preservation Commission talks about paint and paint color. The last time was in September 2022, when the plans for painting 529 Warren Street were brought to the commission's attention. 

At that time, Victoria Polidoro, legal counsel to the HPC, recommended that the HPC form a working group to come up with a proposal regarding the use of paint in historic districts. That never happened, but it may be an idea whose time has come. At last Friday's meeting of the HPC, Phil Forman, who chairs the commission, has quite intense in his disapproval of the use of paint in the restoration of a pair of houses on lower Allen Street. The restoration is being done by Galvan.

At a previous meeting of the HPC, Walter Chatham proposed metal staircases for the buildings which the HPC thought had too much of a "fire escape" look. At Friday's meeting, Chatham returned with a proposal that the HPC found more acceptable. 

The HPC hailed the new proposal as "a great turnaround in design" and granted a certificate of appropriateness. What was not part of the proposal and what Forman wanted to talk about was paint. The paint has been removed from the brick, and everything else--the cornice, the window sills and lintels, even the marble string course--has been painted black.

Forman argued that the black paint "disappears" all the historic details on the building. The purpose of historic preservation, Forman maintained, was to prevent destroying or irradicating critical historic detail. "The spirit of the thing is not to destroy, mask, minimize, erase historic detail," said Forman, and detail on this building has now been "masked, covered, and deleted" with black paint. 

Chatham said it was his understanding that "if something has been painted it can be painted again without review." He maintained that everything that was painted black had been painted previously.

Craig Haigh, code enforcement officer, noted that the original building permit was for interior work only, implying that all work on the exterior had been done without an appropriate permit, but he supported Chatham's understanding, saying, "Once a [masonry] building has been painted, it can be repainted without review." He asserted there had been "no wrongdoing, based on the code as it existed." He went on to say the code, as it pertains to historic preservation, was adopted seventeen years ago and suggested that it may need to be updated. 

Summing up the discussion, Polidoro asked a question that went unanswered: "Do you want to propose a code amendment to regulate paint?" 

It was then that Paul Barrett, the historian member of the HPC, shared this picture of the building, probably taken in the late 1930s or early 1940s.

It shows the lintels painted some dark color, but it also shows what appears to be a single staircase going straight down from the doorways to the sidewalk--not unlike what was there when Galvan took possession of the house. 

Whether or not the HPC will take up the matter of amending the code to address paint, it is useful to remember that paint is not forever. Chatham defended the action at 28-30 Allen Street by pointing out that before the "rotting white cornice" was painted black, it had been repaired, asserting. "It's not as if something has been lost." It's also useful to remember that once upon a time 116 Warren Street, our rare example of Adam style architecture, was completely painted, marble pilasters and medallions and all, in a single color. (I've been told it was red.)

Photo: Evelyn and Robert Monthie Collection, Columbia County Historical Society

When it comes to paint and paint color, it is not a matter of preserving historic detail for future generations so much as it is a matter of preserving historic character in the here and now. 

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Meetings of Interest in the Week Ahead

We have now entered December, the last month of the year. As we slouch toward Hanukkah, which begins at nightfall this Thursday, here's what is happening.
  • On Tuesday, December 5, Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency (HCDPA) meets at 4:00 p.m. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.
Update: The HCDPA meeting has been rescheduled for Tuesday, December 12, at 4:00 p.m.
  • At 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 5, the Conservation Advisory Council holds its monthly meeting. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.
  • On Wednesday, December 6, the Hudson Industrial Development Agency holds its regular monthly meeting at 9:30 a.m. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at 1 City Centre, Suite 301, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.
  • At 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 6, the Common Council ad hoc Truck Route Committee holds its monthly meeting. At its last meeting, the committee returned to the task of revising the directive issued in 1976 by then police commissioner Thomas Quigley designating truck routes within the city. It is likely they will continue that discussion. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.  
Photo: Bill Huston
  • On Thursday, December 7, the Common Council Legal Committee meets at 6:00 p.m. No agenda for the meeting is yet available. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.

A Meeting That Didn't Live Up to Expectation

On Wednesday, the day before the Planning Board's special "working meeting," posters appeared around town, warning of a "Traffic/Safety Nightmare" if the Planning Board approved the haul road proposed by Colarusso and summoning people to an "Urgent Meeting," at which the Planning Board was expected to begin it deliberations on the proposal. 

Anyone who expected the Planning Board finally to get around to some serious deliberation on the proposal was disappointed. Instead the meeting, which went on for an hour and seventeen minutes, was a contentious discussion between the Planning Board and its legal counsel and representatives of Colarusso and their legal counsel. Only four of the six members of the Planning Board were present: Theresa Joyner, Randall Martin, Ben Forman, and Bettina Young. John Cody and Valerie Wray were absent. (There is one vacancy on the Planning Board.) 

The discussion of the Colarusso proposal started with Randall Martin mentioning the posters, one of which was tacked to a utility pole across the street from his home. He was concerned the poster mischaracterized the situation by suggesting that approving the haul road would lead to an increase in the number of trucks going to and from the waterfront. Ryan Weitz, consulting engineer for the Planning Board, clarified that 284, the number cited on the poster, was the maximum number of trips to and from the waterfront Colarusso had agreed to if the haul road were approved. He pointed out that there was no limit to the number of truck trips if Colarusso used city streets. This was reiterated by JR Heffner, vice president of operations for Colarusso, who told the board, "The haul road is not needed to maximize activity," and said it is an economic benefit to Colarusso to use the haul road. To which John Privatera, Colarusso's attorney, added, "That's why we're building it."

The conversation then turned to the Planning Board's request to extend the time they need to make a decision. Colarusso's attorneys maintained that they could not grant an extension. Privatera cited the court ruling which states "a decision on the haul road application is directed to issue forthwith," commenting, "It's already been five months." He asserted that granting an extension would impair "forthwith." Victoria Polidoro, legal counsel to the Planning Board, disagreed, maintaining that they could grant an extension. She also told Privatera there was no automatic approval if the Planning Board doesn't render a decision within the time frame, which is sixty days from the close of the public hearing

They then returned to the question of defining the public safety reasons that would allow Colarusso to use city streets even if the haul road were built. Privatera essentially told the board that the situations could not be defined beyond "acts of God" (flooding and tornadoes were mentioned) and "blasting." Polidoro finally told Privatera, "The intention was that you come back with ideas of how conditions can be workable. Instead you came back saying they cannot be workable and claiming you have unfettered discretion to use city streets."

Before the meeting adjourned, Theresa Joyner, who chairs the Planning Board, declared, "We are not going to be forced into a decision." Although Polidoro asked if they wanted to schedule a special meeting before the regularly scheduled meeting on December 12, Joyner indicated there would be no special meeting.

The video of Thursday's meeting can be found here.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

A Preview of Winter Walk

Every year on the night before Winter Walk, a group of anonymous judges reviews all the festively adorned shop windows for the Winter Walk Window Decorating Contest. This year, a small group of gallerists, representing the Hudson Gallery Alliance, descended on Warren Street and beyond to assess the creative, colorful, quirky, glamorous, and spectacularly delightful window decorations to choose the stand-out winners. This morning, Gossips learned who the winners are.

The “Five Golden Rings” Awards 

“5th Ave Spectacular”Award  
Finch, 427 Warren Street

“Met Gala Poinsettias” Award  
The Rosery, 128 Green Street

 “A Scrumptious Wonderland” Award  
Nine Cakes, 748 Warren Street

 “Reindeer Games in Retirement” Award  
Little Rico’s, 437 Warren Street

“The Woman in Gold” Award  
Five & Diamond, 502 Columbia Street

Then there was the obligatory "Pear Tree Award" (Judge's Choice), which went to the Holiday Huts of Santa's Village in Seventh Street Park, whose renovation this year by volunteers at Lowe's in Greenport has been much ballyhooed on Facebook.

There was a second category of awards called the "12 Drummers Awards." Here are the winners. Check them out tonight.
  • “Christmas Menagerie” Award  Stair, 549 Warren Street
  • “Stuffed Stocking” Award  Hudsontricity, 428 Warren Street
  • “Childhood Treasures” Award  White Whale, 410 Warren Street 
  • “A Christmas Nightmare” Award  Bones Barber Co., 540 Warren Street 
  • “Over the River and Through the Woods” Award  510 Warren St. Gallery, 510 Warren Street 
  • “Peace on Earth” Award  Shana Lee Jewelry, 315 Warren Street 
  • “I Need Fabulous” Award  Favreaulous Factory, 521 Warren Street 
  • “Home Alone” Award  Red Chair, 606 Warren Street 
  • “Evergreen Christmas” Award  Lili and Loo, 259 Warren Street 
  • “Corrugated Christmas” Award  Rebus, 337 Warren Street 
  • “Home Sweet Home” Award  Supernatural Coffee, 527 Warren Street 
  • “Something For Everyone” Award  Hudson Clothier, 443 Warren Street 

Friday, December 1, 2023

And So the Holiday Season Begins . . .

We are in the month of December, and tomorrow the winter holiday season officially begins in Hudson with three seasonal events.

In the morning, the Hudson Farmers' Market Holiday Market starts its four weekend run at the Elks Lodge, 201 Harry Howard Avenue. The market offers a wide range of products from local farmers, producers, and artisans, for your weekly dining needs and holiday shopping, along with live music and hot food and drink to make shopping fun and festive. The market is open from 10:00 a.m. t0 1:00 p.m. tomorrow, December 2, and for the next three Saturdays: December 9, 16, and 23. For a detailed schedule of vendors and musicians, visit

In the afternoon, the Hudson Area Library, in partnership with NY Folklore, presents a chestnut roast at Oakdale Beach. From 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., join Emerson Martin, farm manager at Arthur's Point, to learn about the ecology and use of chestnut trees, while enjoying chestnuts roasted on an open fire. Registration is required for this event. To do so, click here.

In the evening, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., it's the 27th annual Winter Walk, Hudson's most beloved holiday tradition. A map that will help you chart your path along Warren Street from one festive venue to another can be found at Of particular note in an evening of revelry and celebration, is the community sing that takes place at 6:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, located at Fourth and Warren streets, hosted by the Hudson Festival Orchestra, in collaboration with the Hudson Community Choir. There's no better way to get in the holiday spirit than to lift your voice in song.   

Take a Climate Survey

As part of the NYS DEC Climate Smart Communities Certification Program, Columbia County is beginning the preparation of a Climate Vulnerability Assessment and Climate Adaptation Plan. Toward that end, county residents are invited to take a survey to share what community assets and environmental impacts are important to you, what hazards you have experienced, and what is at risk in your community.  

To learn about the Climate Smart Communities Certification program and Columbia County's participation, click here. To access the survey, click here.

The City of Hudson, which began the Climate Smart Communities Certification process in 2015, has to date attained Bronze level in the program.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

He Said, They Said

The Planning Board is holding a special "working meeting" today about the Colarusso application for the proposed "haul road," a paved, two-lane road through the wetland that was once South Bay. The image below shows the trestle through South Bay, completed in 1874 for Fred W. Jones's "mountain railroad," going from the quarry to the river. The trestle evolved into the berm that exists today, on which Colarusso is proposing to built a paved, two-lane road for its gravel trucks.

The meeting, which was agreed upon at the Planning Board's November 14 meeting, is now listed on the City of Hudson calendar. It is scheduled to happen at 4:00 p.m. today, November 30. The workshop meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at the Central Fire Station and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely. 

It's not known what will happen at this working meeting. The discussion that preceded the decision to hold the meeting suggests that the board and Colarusso might use to meeting to work out the conditions agreeable to Colarusso should the Planning Board grant its approval. At the November 14 meeting, much time was spend discussing the situations--flooding and blasting--in which "public safety" would demand that Colarusso trucks travel on city streets. One hopes, however, the Planning Board will begin some serious deliberation about the decision before them rather than allowing John Privatera, Colarusso's attorney, to monopolize the meeting.

At the November 14 meeting, Privatera was invited to present the applicant's response to public comments. The response had been submitted to the Planning Board in a letter dated November 1. Even Privatera seemed to find that strange, commenting, "It's unusual to have a discussion of comments, but I think that's what the board wants." Before summarizing and presenting the applicant's response to public comments, the vast majority of which expressed opposition to the project, Privatera spoke of a letter written by Donna Streitz and David Konigsberg, representing Our Hudson Waterfront, reacting to his response to comments. The text of the letter can be found here. Privatera dismissed the letter as being "hugely mistaken" and declared it was "procedurally inappropriate and unfair to the board to read [the letter] outside of the comment period." The letter had been sent to the Planning Board on November 14; the deadline for submitting written comments was October 10. 

Everything Privatera had to say about the letter from Our Hudson Waterfront (OHW) and his response to public comments can be heard here, beginning at 1:34:48. In this post, Gossips will consider some of his more stunning claims.

Speaking of the OHW letter, Privatera said, "It starts with the premise that what we are doing at the dock is illegal," and declared that premise to be false, backing that up by saying they'd been operating at the dock for nine years, and "the city hasn't told us to stop operating." The truth is, since 2018, when unauthorized repairs to the dock ended the grandfathered nonconforming use status of the dock operations, Colarusso has been operating at the dock without the required conditional use permit--in other words, in violation of the city code, or illegally. The fact that city government has been reluctant to shut down Colarusso's operations at the dock does not legitimize them. 

In his presentation on November 14, Privatera asserted, "The law was written to accommodate the haul road." By "the law," Privatera presumably meant the zoning code that is part of the city's Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP). He was referring to the fact that the Core Riverfront District (C-R), shown in green on the zoning map, extends the length of the haul road. 

He went on to claim, "The code was specifically written to facilitate the development of the haul road." I was on the Waterfront Advisory Steering Committee--the committee that developed the draft LWRP in 2006-2007--and I can attest that was hardly the case. At that time, O&G was moving gravel from the quarry to the dock along what was then known as the "causeway," and the zoning simply acknowledged that. There was no intent or interest in facilitating further development. In fact, the zoning was meant to prohibit development. In 2011, when the Common Council was voting to adopt the LWRP, Cheryl Roberts, who has then the city attorney and the principal author of the LWRP, assured the Council that "the law presumes that eventually nonconforming uses will no longer be in existence"--quite the opposite of facilitating development.

Privatera also claims that the LWRP "contemplated a commercial dock." A commercial dock is not an industrial dock. What the LWRP envisioned was a dock for shipping agricultural products from Columbia County to New York City and beyond, as the Apollonia is doing, and for receiving passenger ships traveling on the Hudson not for loading gravel barges and unloading asphalt. 

Privatera made a claim about the OHW letter that works to incite Colarusso supporters: "They're really trying to put us out of business." That's ridiculous. A. Colarusso & Sons has been in existence since 1912, and they have only been shipping gravel from the dock they acquired from Holcim since 2014, an activity that represents less than 5 percent of the company's revenue. The company's success and survival hardly depends on this. 

We can only hope that the Planning Board has the courage to support the vision for the waterfront that people have been working toward since 1984, when a citizens' group called SHOW (Save Hudson's Only Waterfront) fought off the siting of an oil refinery on our waterfront, rather than acquiesce to Colarusso's nine-year-old venture. 

It should be noted that Colarusso is probably the reason why Hudson does not have a fully approved LWRP. LWRPs require approval of the New York State Department of State, and approval of Hudson's LWRP was contingent on fulfilling some conditions, one of which was the transfer of ten acres of land on the waterfront, south of the dock, from Holcim to the City of Hudson. Cheryl Roberts, then city attorney, was negotiating with Holcim's lawyers to make that happen, but those negotiations broke down sometime in 2014. That was because, as Gossips learned in 2016, Colarruso had begun its negotiations with Holcim to buy Holcim's property in Hudson, and Colarusso wanted those ten acres adjacent to the dock to use as a staging area.

The Planning Board's special meeting takes place today at 4:00 p.m., in person at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

The Mayor Giveth, and the Mayor Taketh Away

City Hall has announced that once again this year, in accordance with tradition, meter parking will be free for the entire month of December. It's Hudson's gift to holiday shoppers and merrymakers.

It has also been announced that, starting not this weekend but next, the suspension of alternate side parking rules on weekends will come to an end. Beginning on Saturday, December 9, alternate side of the street regulations for overnight parking will be in force seven days a week. That means on Friday, December 8, your car must be parked overnight on the side of the street where house numbers are odd, because the date of the next day, December 9, is odd.

Monday, November 27, 2023

The Future of the Former Kaz Site

Today, Ben Fain's plans for the former Kaz site were the subject of an article in the Albany Business Review: "'Dream project' would transform site near Hudson train station." The article begins:
What was once an industrial building near the railroad tracks in Hudson where workers made humidifiers and vaporizers could be transformed into an airy, light-filled venue that can host year-round events such as a farmers market.
That vision for the former Kaz Inc. manufacturing site is possible because of nearly $3.5 million in state grants that have been awarded over the past several years and financing from a group of family and friends led by Ben Fain. 

Regarding the farmers market, the article clarifies that the idea that this might be the future home of the Hudson Farmers Market is still just that: an idea.
Fain's dream is to bring the popular Hudson Farmers to the site from its downtown home at North 6th and Columbia streets, but emphasizes it's only an idea at this point.
"I'm crossing my fingers we can build a space around them," Fain said. "They're already an extremely successful organization. We'll see what happens."
The article contains one amusing error that betrays lack of knowledge of Hudson even more than describing Sixth and Columbia streets as "downtown." In talking about recently completed projects in close proximity to the Kaz site, the article says, "The Wick is a 55-room boutique hotel in a renovated candle factory at 711 Warren St." Anyone who knows Hudson the least little bit knows that 711 Warren Street is nowhere near the Kaz site. Anyone who knows Hudson slightly better knows that 711 Warren Street is the location of Poured Candle Bar not a 55-room hotel, but candles figure into both. It seems odd that an article in the Albany Business Review, which reports regularly on projects undertaken by Redburn Development, doesn't mention that it was Redburn Development that transformed the historic industrial building, originally a candle factory, into a boutique hotel called The Wick.

The article includes this rendering of the redeveloped site which we haven't seen before.

It's not at all clear how, in this rendering, the building fits into its context, but my guess is that's the municipal parking lot at the train station in the lower right and Cross Street in the upper left, but I could be wrong.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Meetings of Interest in the Week Ahead

The long holiday weekend is over, and now it's back to business as usual. In the week leading up to Winter Walk, Hudson's unofficial start of the Hanukkah-Christmas-Kwanzaa season, here is what's happening. 
  • On Tuesday, November 28, the Common Council ad hoc Parking Study Committee meets at 6:00 p.m. At their last meeting, on October 24, the committee heard a presentation from a representative of Duncan Technologies about converting our existing parking meters to "smart" meters. It is expected at this meeting the committee may hear a presentation from another company seeking to upgrade our parking system. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.
Update: The meeting of the ad hoc Parking Study Committee has been canceled.
  • On Wednesday, November 29, the Columbia County Housing Task Force holds its monthly meeting at 4:00 p.m. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at Columbia Economic Development Corporation (CEDC), 1 City Centre, Suite 301, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.
  • On Thursday, November 30, the Planning Board is holding a special workshop session at 4:00 p.m., regarding the Colarusso haul road. The meeting is presumably a public meeting, taking place at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, but it apparently will not be a hybrid. Based on the discussion that preceded the decision to hold the special workshop session, it seems the purpose of the workshop is to settle on the conditions agreeable to Colarusso should the Planning Board grant its approval.
Update: This meeting is now listed on the City of Hudson calendar. The meeting is to be a hybrid, taking place in person at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.
  • On Friday, December 1, the Historic Preservation Commission meets at 10:00 a.m. At the November 17 meeting of the HPC, Victoria Polidoro, legal counsel to the HPC, reported a restoration professional had been hired by the applicant to opine on the removal of the limewash from 501 Union Street, where limewash was applied to the brick in violation of the conditions of the certificate of appropriateness. She said a proposed solution to the limewash issue would be submitted on December 1, and the HPC would review that solution on December 15. 
At the November 17 meeting, Phil Forman, who chairs the HPC, reported he had done some investigating and discovered that, although two stop-work orders have been issued on the building, in neither case was that information communicated to the people doing the work. Polidoro opined that there needs to be a public hearing on the matter, because, as she explained, half the people who have spoken to her about the limewashed building love it and half hate it. That hardly seems an appropriate reason for a public hearing. Historic preservation is not a popularity contest. The December 1 meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Imagining What Might Be

As it turns out and was explained by Nick Zachos, who is a member of the Hudson Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, the inability of anyone to access the HHA meeting on Zoom on Monday was not intentional in any way. However, the fact remains that the architects and the board have not been very forthcoming about the plans for the project. What we do know is they are proposing to extend First Street, which now only goes from Union Street to Columbia Street, north from Columbia to State, and to close State Street to vehicular traffic between Second Street and the new extension of First Street. 

We also know that what is being proposed for the current HHA property--the site of Bliss Towers, Columbia Apartments, and the park and basketball courts on the north side of State Street--are buildings that will surround a landscaped courtyard with parking on the perimeter. What we don't know is what those buildings will look like. Since no one is sharing their ideas of what might be, we are left to speculate, based on clues we have been given.

Revonda Smith, who chairs the HHA Board of Commissioners, has repeatedly made reference to 280 North Pearl Street in Albany as a building that should be emulated here in Hudson. At the October meeting of HHA, Claire Cousin, also a member of the HHA Board of Commissioners, supported that notion. This is 280 North Pearl Street.

And then there are the architects, Alexander Gorlin Architects. According to an article found online, this firm has been designing affordable housing in New York City for two decades, but the only affordable housing project featured on their website seems to be this one, completed last year in the Bronx.

Like what is being proposed for Hudson, this building opens onto a courtyard.

This is not to say that these designs will be imposed on Hudson. Rather it is an appeal to HHA and their architects to be more forthcoming about what it being planned for our city. In the absence of actual information, we can only imagine.