Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Developing Housing

Recently, two notices appeared on the City of Hudson website regarding the sale of City-owned property to Kearney Realty & Development Group for the purpose of constructing new housing. The first pertains to two parcels on Rossman Avenue, which are to be sold for $25,000. What is being proposed for these parcels is a two-family house.

Rossman Avenue is a locally designated historic district, so the design for the building will need a certificate of appropriateness by the Historic Preservation Commission before it can be constructed.

A second notice pertains to two other properties now owned by the City: the vacant lot at the corner of Fourth and State streets, once of the site of the Fourth Street School and now being used for parking by the County, and the field on the south side of Mill Street. Those two properties are to be sold for $425,000.

A design has been presented for Fourth and State streets, for a building that appears to be oriented toward Long Alley rather than either State Street or Fourth Street.

This building will not be subject to review by the Historic Preservation Commission. The locally designated Warren Street Historic District originally extended only to Prison Alley. At the request of residents and property owners, the North Fourth Street Extension was created to make the area along Fourth Street from Prison Alley to Columbia Street part of the historic district. Over the years, the HPC has received requests from preservation advocates to extend the district farther north to the individually designed Hudson Almshouse (400 State Street) and make the entire Fourth Street transept part of a historic district, but those requests were never acted on. At this point, with the City poised to sell the lot at Fourth and State streets, it's probably too late to do so.   

No design has been presented for the building proposed for Mill Street, but the proposed sale of the property for housing raises some questions. 

When Kearney presented its proposed plans to the Common Council back in September, an audience member asked if repurposing the Mill Street parcel for an apartment building with parking for residents interfered with the plans to upgrade the underused Charles Williams Park. The questioner was assured it did not. But there is another question: Does it violate a commitment made by the City of Hudson almost two decades ago?

In May 2006, the Common Council passed a resolution dedicating 11 acres of what had been the playing fields of the Charles Williams School to "park purposes." The resolution concludes:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Mayor of the City of Hudson is hereby authorized and directed to file an application for funds from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in accordance with the provision of Title 9 of the Environmental Protection Act of 1993 or the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965, in an amount not to exceed $350,000, and upon approval of said request to enter into and execute a project agreement with the state conservation easement/preservation covenant to the deed of the assisted property.
The minutes for the Council meeting that took place on May 16, 2006, record that Bill Roehr of the Grant Writers, later known as TGW Consulting, stated after the vote that "the City would take land out of non park use and dedicate it to total park use which creates a match under the Environmental Protection Fund." 

The City was awarded $250,000 for the development of Charles Williams Park. The plans that were submitted with the grant application, the plans that were awarded the grant, include the area south of Mill Street.

It would seem that the parcel that the City is now planning to sell to the Kearney Group is designated parkland, and the sale of parkland requires an act of the state legislature. 

According to the notices that appear on the city website, the Common Council will vote on selling all three parcels at its regular monthly meeting on January 17. This means that the resolutions to do so will be introduced at the Council's informal meeting on Monday, January 9. To Gossips' knowledge, the ramifications of the Mill Street parcel being designated parkland have not been considered or discussed by the Council. Councilmembers Gossips contacted were unaware of the grant or the designation. It will be interesting to see if the issue is discussed at Monday's informal meeting. The informal meeting will follow the Council's organizational meeting, which begins at 7:00 p.m. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at City Hall and on Zoom. Click here to join remotely.

Update: Regarding the issue of the Mill Street parcel, I contacted, my two councilmembers, Art Frick and Margaret Morris. Morris, in turn, contacted Council president Tom DePietro, who offered the following explanation by email:
First of all, the resolution calls for a filing of an easement or covenant, but no such easement or covenant has been filed anywhere based on a search of the county and city database, and the deed itself. Secondly, According to the HANDBOOK OF ALIENATION AND CONVERSION OF MUNICIPAL PARKLAND (2017), "land acquired or improved with State Parks grant funding" is subject to restrictions. However, no money at all was spent on the lot on the southern side of Mill Street. Based on these two facts, our attorney, Andrew Howard, sees no problem with proceeding with the sale.

It is not clear whose responsibility it was to "execute a project agreement with the state conservation easement/preservation covenant to the deed of the assisted property" as prescribed in the resolution passed by the Common Council in May 2006. One would think city attorneys would have something to do with it. In 2006, Cheryl Roberts was serving as legal counsel to the Common Council.


  1. Notice on the rendering for the large building at 4th and State how the car is headed or parked in the wrong direction on one way 4th Street.
    Apartments? How many and where will tenants park?

    1. Notice, too, how there are no curb ramps for the sidewalks on either side of the alley. Call the DOJ! Call the Mayor!
      (Curb ramps do exist there now)

  2. It is not a question of where they will park, it is a question of where they are coming from. The population of Hudson is not on the rise, everyone living here now lives someplace. So who is going to fill all these new apartments? Why is our current city govt. on an apparent crusade to build more and more apartment buildings, even to the point of converting designated park land? No one can answer the question, how does importing more low income residents improve the quality of life of the people who already live here? Isn't the city govt. supposed to represent the interest of the current Hudson residents? This appears more like social engineering than representative government.

    1. This was the problem in the 1970's and history is just repeating itself. Hudson, slum landlords, would advertise in New York papers like the Village Voice to attract residents to it's subsidized housing, hence many of the now existing stores were apartments back then, with curtains on the windows (or sheets) and the owners got rent checks from the government. Individuals worked long and hard to reverse that trend for the last 40 years - and now look - here we are again. Too many agencies screaming about 'affordable housing'.