Tuesday, February 28, 2023

News from the Hudson Housing Authority

At last night's meeting of the Hudson Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, Jeffrey Dodson, HHA executive director, reported a few things of general interest. The first was that the payment standard for Section 8 housing vouchers in Hudson has been raised to 120 percent. The significance of this, as Dodson explained it, is that Hudson residents with Section 8 vouchers will have "more leeway is finding an apartment." 

Section 8 payment standards are based on fair market rent, and fair market rent is determined at the county level. For example, in 2023, the fair market rent in Columbia County for a one-bedroom apartment is $952. The increase in the Section 8 payment standard to 120 percent for Hudson means that a Hudson resident with a Section 8 voucher could rent a one-bedroom apartment whose total cost (rent and utilities) is as much as $1,142.40 a month. The tenant pays the portion of the rent that represents forty percent of their monthly income; the remainder is paid by HUD.

PhotobyGibson, 1973
In his report to the board, Dodson said that tenants were not responding to letters informing them that they were behind in their rent. Dodson urged tenants, "Don't wait four, five, six months." He said tenants should not be afraid to contact him if they were having trouble paying their rent. This seems to be a very sad state of affairs. It was only last May that The Spark of Hudson and Eutopia Foundation paid the back rent for all HHA tenants.

Dodson also told the board that HHA was revisiting its pet policy, and no new pets would be allowed in the building until further notice. He reminded the board that tenants needed to fill out the paperwork to get approval for a pet before they acquired the pet not after.

He also announced that responses to the RFQ (request for qualifications) for a public housing development partner were due on Friday, March 3. (The RFQ can be viewed here.) The scope of the anticipated project includes the demolition of Columbia Apartments (the low-rise) and Bliss Towers and new construction on the site, as well as possible new construction on three parcels HHA has an option to buy from Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency (HCDPA). According to the schedule set forth in the RFQ, a development partner will be selected by April 3.

School Board Meeting Rescheduled

Tonight's meeting of the Hudson City School District Board of Education has been rescheduled for a different date and place. It will take tomorrow, Wednesday, March 1, at 6:00 p.m., in the auditorium at Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School, 102 Harry Howard Avenue.

Food, Glorious Food

According to the USDA definition, Hudson is a food desert. But by other standards, it's a food destination. Not only has Hudson become known for its restaurants, there are, in this city of fewer than 6,000, two food emporia. One of them, Talbott & Arding, moved from Warren Street into a bigger space on Allen Street in 2021. Now the other (and the first), Olde Hudson, is contemplating an expansion. 

On Friday, architect Walter Chatham appeared at the Historic Preservation Commission to present plans for alterations to the building at 449 Warren Street, owned by Galvan and occupied by Olde Hudson. The plans involve expanding the gourmet market into rest of the space in the building, enclosing part of the area under the canopy and adding a skylight to create an atrium, installing solar panels on the roof on the rear of the building, and adding a fence at the rear to enclose a box storage area.


Speaking of the enclosed area under the canopy, Chip Bohl, architect member of the HPC, said he was "not troubled by any lack of symmetry" but remarked, "It would be unfortunate if the entire canopy were enclosed." Phil Forman, chair of the HPC, expressed the opinion that the enclosure would be "an improvement to the streetscape."

The HPC approved the proposed changes with the contingency that acceptable specifications for the windows and trim for the enclosure be presented at its next meeting. 

Monday, February 27, 2023

Previewing Tomorrow's Meeting

The incidents at the junior high school, which put the Hudson City School District in the headlines in the greater Capital Region, are sure to be a topic of discussion at tomorrow's regular meeting of the Board of Education. Given that, Gossips decided to take look at the agenda for the meeting, which can be found here.

The first item on the agenda, after the opening of the meeting, is voting on a resolution to establish a School Climate and Safety Advisory Committee. The resolution states the committee "shall be comprised of up to twenty (20) members from the District's stakeholders, including but not limited to, Board members, District employees, District students, and District residents, who shall serve on such committee through August 31, 2022 [sic]. The committee will be tasked with "providing a report to the Board of Education on the current climate of the District's schools and making recommendations on activities, initiatives and/or practices that can be implemented to improve the safety, climate, and learning environment of the District's schools." Anyone interested in serving on this committee should submit "a short letter of interest" to the District Clerk at districtclerk@hudsoncsd.org before March 9, 2023.

Next on the agenda, after the resolution establishing a School Climate and Safety Advisory Committee, is the Superintendent's Update on School Climate and Safety. It will be interesting to hear what Dr. Lisamarie Spindler has to say about the situation.

Later on in the agenda, after an executive session, old business items, and a public forum, there's a resolution to approve a security agreement with Snoop Investigations & Security. On Saturday, the Register-Star reported the district has "agreed to partner with STOPIt Solutions to create a healthier place to learn and work." The article continues:
A launch implementing the STOPIt anonymous reporting system, 911 direct panic alert system and enhanced social-emotional learning and safety wellness training for students and staff is planned.
District officials plan to invite professionals to speak about conflict resolution techniques and the process of forming a school safety committee to meet regularly and discuss ways to prevent small disputes from growing into physical altercations. The district is also working to increase staffing of monitors in locations and settings where large numbers of students gather.
How Snoop Investigations fits into these plans is not clear, and the proposed contract with Snoop is of little help. The description of services seems mostly to do with protecting property. The following is quoted from the proposed contract:
The duties of the SNOOP INVESTIGATIONS & SECURITY Security Officer regarding the protection of property include and are limited to:
1. Providing a visible deterrent for property crimes and crime against the client, which include criminal mischief, making graffiti, larceny, burglary, criminal tampering, trespass, and criminal trespass, misapplication of property. . . . 
2. Alerting the proper law enforcement authority of the incident immediately.

Tuesday's meeting, as all school board meetings in Gossips' experience, will undoubtedly be long, but it will likely be very interesting. The board meets at 6:00 p.m. in the cafeteria at the Hudson Junior/Senior High School, 215 Harry Howard Avenue.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Meetings and Events in the Week Ahead

As February ends and March begins, and we anxiously await a snowstorm while spring comes ever nearer, here's what is happening.
  • On Monday, February 27, the Hudson Housing Authority Board of Commissioners holds its regular monthly meeting at 6:00 p.m. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person in the Community Room at Bliss Towers and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely. 
  • On Tuesday, February 28, the Common Council Ad Hoc Parking Study Committee meets at 6:00 p.m. This is the first meeting of the committee, and it will feature a presentation of the findings of the parking study carried out last year. 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 on Tuesday, February 28, the Hudson City School District Board of Education meets at 6:00 p.m. The meeting takes place in person only in the cafeteria at Hudson Junior/Senior High School. Given what's been happening at the school recently, the meeting is sure to be well attended. 
Update: The Board of Education meeting has been rescheduled for Wednesday, March 1, at 6:00 p.m., in the auditorium at Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School, 102 Harry Howard Avenue.
  • On Wednesday, March 1, the Common Council Legal Committee meets at 6:00 p.m. At its last meeting, the committee took up the task of revising Article XIV of the city code, Community Character Preservation. That discussion is expected to continue at this meeting. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, and on Zoom. Click here is join the meeting remotely.  
  • On Thursday, March 2, the Common Council Ad Hoc Truck Route Committee meets at 6:00 p.m. At its last meeting, the committee decided it was time to start communicating with the municipalities--Greenport and Claverack--that would be impacted if trucks stopped passing though Hudson. Thursday's meeting might provide an update on those efforts. 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 on Thursday, March 2, the opening reception for the exhibition of Local Historic Maps and Atlases at the Hudson Area Library, 51 North Fifth Street, begins at 6:00 p.m. The maps in the exhibition, dating from 1740 to 2001, illustrate the ways Hudson has changed and stayed the same over its long history. 
  • On Saturday, March 4, the sixth annual Oakdale Plunge takes place at noon at Oakdale Lake. Click here for more information about this event which raises money for the Hudson Youth Department Waterfront Program and the Hudson Fire Department's Water Rescue and Dive Team.
Update: Because of weather concerns on Saturday, the Oakdale Plunge has been postponed until Sunday, March 5. The plunging begins at noon.  

Celebrate Purim

Purim is the Jewish holiday that celebrates the miraculous events told in the Book of Esther. You can join the celebration on Tuesday, March 7, right here in Hudson.

Nearly a Lifetime Ago in Hudson

From 1950 to 1967, there was a game show on CBS called What's My Line? On the show, a panel of celebrities--the regulars were Dorothy Kilgallen, Arlene Francis, and Bennett Cerf--questioned contestants to try to guess their occupation, or line of work.

Yesterday, a reader clued me in to an episode of the show from 1952 in which one of the contestants was a man from Hudson. His name was Harold "Tiny" Heiden, and his occupation was "Frog Catcher." 

The panel was able to deduce that Tiny's occupation had something to do with frogs but not what he did with them. Because he stumped the panel, Tiny Heiden won the full prize: $50.

You can watch the entire episode here. Tiny Heiden is the first contestant. The segment featuring him begins at 2:15 and ends at 11:23.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Fighting at HCSD Is Not New

This morning, the Register-Star published an article reminding folks that what's been happening recently at Hudson Junior/Senior High School has happened before: "HCSD had discipline issues in 2010." From September to November 2010, there were thirteen fights at Hudson High School, eleven of them involving girls. Then as now, the HCSD Board of Education held a meeting to discuss the problem with the community. In 2010, discussing the mayhem among students incited an altercation between the two co-principals at Hudson High School that resulted in one of them being put on administrative leave. The headline that appeared in the Register-Star, however, declared he had been suspended.

The headline and the article were amended in the digital version of the paper to clarify that Tom Gavin, then co-principal of HHS, had been placed on administrative leave after he allegedly threatened his fellow co-principal Steven Spicer with violence at a school board meeting. The article, written by longtime Register-Star reporter John Mason, can be read here: "Fights erupt at HHS; principal put on administrative leave." The article was published on November 23, 2010, the day after the meeting during which Gavin challenged Spicer to step outside into the hallway. The next day, on November 24, Mason wrote a second article to announce a special meeting of the Board of Education: "HCSD to meet to discuss recent violence." The special meeting took place on Monday, November 29, and was reported on by Andrew Amelinckx: "Crowd turns out to talk solutions to school fights." Reading all three of these articles is recommended to get a sense of the circumstances that were blamed for the violence in 2010 and the district's response to the situation then.

Returning to the present, the HCSD Board of Education will meet on Tuesday, February 28, at 6:00 p.m. The board typically meets in the library at Hudson High School, but this meeting will take place in a larger venue: the cafeteria.

Gratitude to Peter Meyer for providing Gossips with the image of the front page of the Register-Star from November 23, 2010.

Of Proposed Hotels and Slurry Wash

The plans for the restoration and adaptive reuse of 601 Union Street, presented to the Historic Preservation Commission two weeks ago, involve slurry wash on the brick of the "Lodge," the extension to the building constructed soon after the Italianate mansion became the Elks Lodge in 1936, as part of the effort to "clean it up and quiet down."

Slurry wash is now being proposed in the revised design for the buildings at Warren and Fourth streets, to be restored and developed as a hotel called "The Hudson Public."

At the HPC meeting on Friday, Walter Chatham returned with further revisions to the design for the hotel being proposed by the Galvan Foundation. The new design uses slurry wash on the two infill structures that are part of the hotel--the building at 8 North Fourth Street, which will be the entrance to the hotel, and the building at 406 Warren Street, which will be the hotel bar.

HPC member Jeremy Stynes applauded the use of the slurry wash to articulate the difference between old and new. Architect member Chip Bohl, however, said of the colonnade on the Warren Street facade, "It still feels like a continuation of the original design." Chatham responded by saying he wanted this to be a unified composition, adding, "If this was a hundred years ago, you wouldn't want me to make it different." Bohl's desire that the new building be "more different" seemed to be satisfied when Chatham explained that any new stone to be used in the colonnade on the original building will match the stone that still exists on the building, but the stone on the new building will be slightly different in color or texture.

There is one more step before the HPC is ready to grant a certificate of appropriateness. HPC chair Phil Forman asked Chatham to return to the commission's next meeting with full details of what it being proposed.

Matt McGhee, the HPC's most learned and steadfast critic, who in his comments at the public hearing on the project called the buildings "a noble ensemble" of very high quality and urged, "It would be a great asset if these buildings were restored and the missing building rebuilt," congratulated the HPC for the outcome and expressed the opinion that changing the color of the material would be enough to distinguish new from old. He also said he liked "seeing the commission, the public, and the applicant working together."

Friday, February 24, 2023

What's Happening in Our Local School

Those of us with no real connections to the Hudson City School District have heard stories about bullying, fights, videos taken by students on their phones, and a reported threat to "shoot up" the junior high, but few of us know what's actually happening. Roger Hannigan Gilson has investigated the situation and published this exposé today in the Times Union
"'Anarchy in the bathrooms': Fight videos proliferate at Hudson schools."

Update: The problem at Hudson Junior/Senior High School was also the subject of a report last night on Channel 6 News: "Rash of school fights has parents saying the situation is 'out of control.'"

Thursday, February 23, 2023

COVID-19 Update

The following is quoted from Matt Murell's weekly press release. 
The Columbia County Department of Health has recorded 73 new cases of COVID-19 among county residents so far this week, DOH Director Victoria McGahan said this morning. Last week at this time there were 96 new cases, with a final weekly total of 113. 
There are currently 14 hospitalized county residents, with two in the ICU, exactly the same numbers as last week. 
Director McGahan said that in a statewide comparison of COVID-19 cases, Columbia County continues to be “on par with much of the rest of the state,” adding there are a couple spots statewide with higher numbers. 
In addition, Director McGahan said that today is the last day of the weekly Thursday vaccination clinic at the A.B. Shaw Fire Department in Claverack. COVID-19 and flu vaccinations will continue to be available at county DOH at 325 Columbia St., Hudson, on Thursdays from 3-5 p.m. by appointment at 518-828-3358. 
The entire press release from Murell, chair of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors can be found here.

Following up with a Former Hudsonian

Sheena Salvino served as executive director of Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) and Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency (HCDPA) from July 2011 to August 2018. She played a significant role in Hudson's successful effort to win a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant in 2017. That's Sheena at the left, posing with the big check for $10 million.

In 2018, Salvino left Hudson and moved to Texas, where she got a job as Redevelopment Manager for the Pasadena Economic Development Corporation. Recently, she moved back to New York and will be working for NYS Homes and Community Renewal, not in housing but in economic development. She and her family are now living in Troy.

Because of Salvino's involvement with the DRI, Gossips is inspired to compare what has happened in the time she's been away--in her life and in the "life" of the DRI. Since 2018, Salvino has gotten married and given birth to two children. In that same time, the City of Hudson has completed only one of its four DRI-funded projects: the redesign of the entrance to Promenade Hill.

Regarding the City's other DRI projects, it's been a year since there has been any word about Hudson Connects, the project to implement Complete Streets improvements in the part of the city below Second Street. The efforts to stabilize and redevelop the Dunn warehouse and to repurpose the historic fishing village, known variously as "the Shacks" and the Furgary Boat Club, as a public park both seem to be dead in the water.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

The Council and Shepherd's Run Solar Project

At its meeting last night, the Common Council unanimously passed a resolution regarding the proposed Shepherd's Run Solar Farm to be sited on 255 acres of farmland in Craryville. Before voting on the resolution, the Council was briefed by Jeanne Mettler, supervisor for the Town of Copake.  

Image: Hecate Energy
Mettler explained that the proposed project is in the Taghkanic Creek Watershed, the source of Hudson's water. The Town of Copake, where the solar project would be sited, opposes the project as proposed and has offered to work with Hecate Energy, the group planning to build the solar farm, to come up with a better plan. The towns of Claverack, Hillsdale, and Taghkanic have passed resolutions similar to the one passed by the Council on Tuesday, which "urges the New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting to continue to deem the application of Hecate Energy . . . incomplete unless and until Hecate can provide evidence that the construction of Shepherd's Run and, once constructed, the presence of Shepherd's Run will not negatively impact the Taghkanic Creek Watershed, or the water quality in the City of Hudson or any Columbia County town." The resolution further urges the Columbia County Board of Supervisors to pass a similar resolution with the goal of protecting the Taghkanic Creek Watershed.

City Meetings to Be Held in a Different Location

Beginning with the meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission this Friday, February 24, all city meetings will take place at the Central Firehouse, 77 North Seventh Street. The change of venue is necessitated by the renovations to City Hall required to make the building ADA compliant. City meetings will continue to be accessible on Zoom.


New Construction on State Street

In January 2020, the Zoning Board of Appeals granted the area variances needed to construct a new building at 418 State Street. It was the second plan for a new structure to be proposed for the site. The house that stood there for more than a hundred years had been demolished in July 2019. 

In the approval process, the ZBA was shown a model of the house to be built. Gossips published photographs of the model, which prompted a reader to suggest that the inspiration for the building's design might be Villa Figini in Milan, an example of early 20th-century rationalism, Architettura razionale, constructed in 1935. 

Today, three years after the area variances were granted, the house is under construction. For those who never saw the model presented at the ZBA meeting, there's a picture on the work fence to let passers-by know what the finished product will look like.


Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Mark Your Calendars, Get Your Tickets

On Saturday, March 4, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., The Olana Partnership, in collaboration with Basilica Hudson, Partners for Climate Action, and Upstate Films, presents a special screening of the 2021 documentary film Meltdown. The screening will be followed by a special question-and-answer session with trailblazing Hudson-based photographer Lynn Davis and climate scientist Anthony Leiserowitz, Ph.D.

Meltdown is a timely documentary that merges art and science as it follows photographer Lynn Davis and climate scientist Anthony Leiserowitz to the town of Ilulissat, Greenland, considered the "Ground Zero" of climate change. Coinciding with this special screening, two of Davis's large-scale photographs from her travels to Greenland are on view at the Olana State Historic Site as part of Olana's first winter exhibition, Chasing Icebergs: Art and a Disappearing LandscapeChasing Icebergs, which runs through March 26, traces the 19th-century artist Frederic Church's quest to paint icebergs off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. Much like Church, Davis's art is connected to global exploration, and she draws inspiration from remote locations, including the sublime beauty of the arctic landscape. 

"I came searching for beauty, feeling loss, and now I've come to see the loss of the planet," says Davis. "There's all the statistics, the dangers, then there's the awesome beauty."

"How do you experience beauty at the same time that you have a sense of tragedy?" Leiserowitz asks. "It's about life itself, isn't it?"

"I'm so pleased we are presenting this timely film in Hudson," said Carolyn Keogh, The Olana Partnership's Director of Education and Public Programs. "Having Lynn's work on view at Olana presents a wonderful occasion to revisit this important documentary's discussion of our current climate crisis through the intersections of art and science."

Click here to watch the film trailer.

Click here to purchase tickets for the screening on March 4.

Remarkable Resources Rediscovered

Back in 2014, Gossips assisted in identifying the family whose photo album from the 1910s ended up in an antiques shop in South Burlington, Vermont. Central to that search was this house, which appeared in many of the pictures and was obviously the home of the people who appeared in the album.

After a considerable amount of sleuthing, Gossips was able to identify the house as 38 Chapel Street--a building that was demolished and a street that was obliterated in the 1970s, during Hudson's Urban Renewal Era. The quest was enjoyable, but documents recently unearthed would have made it ever so much easier.

Extensive records were kept of what was destroyed during Urban Renewal. For most of the past fifty years, these have been in the possession of Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency (HCDPA). For more than a decade, they were stored in the basement of 1 North Front Street. At some point, they were moved from there to the Dunn warehouse, where they remained for a number of years in less than ideal conditions. A year or so ago, Sara Black, coordinator for HCDPA, organized a work party to sift through the stacks of documents and salvage those deemed most important. The documents they identified and saved are now with the History Room at the Hudson Area Library, where the task of scanning them has begun. 

Among the documents are maps of the areas targeted by Urban Renewal, such as this street abandonment map of the area west of Front Street.

Even more interesting are the records, which usually include a photograph, for every building demolished during Urban Renewal. Here are a couple of examples. (Click on the images to enlarge.)

Some of these documents will be included in the library's exhibition of Local Historical Maps & Atlases, which opens next Thursday, March 2, with an opening reception at 6:00 p.m. 

The documents are an extraordinary and often poignant record of what was lost during Urban Renewal, and the History Room is working to make them available to the public. But the process is time-consuming and costly. Anyone interested in supporting the effort should contact Brenda Shufelt, History Room coordinator.

Meetings of Interest in the Week Ahead

With Presidents' Day behind us, here are the meetings happening this week.
  • On Tuesday, February 21, the Common Council holds its regular monthly meeting at 6:00 p.m. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at City Hall and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.
  • On Thursday, February 23, at 2:30 p.m., there is an information session for general contractors, electricians, plumbers, masons, and roofers interested in participating in rehabilitation projects funded by the $500,000 in grant funds received by the City of Hudson to improve owner-occupied properties. The event takes place on the second floor of Hoysradt Firehouse, 515 Warren Street. For more information, click here.   
  • On Friday, February 24, the Historic Preservation Commission meets at 10:00 a.m. No agenda is yet available for the meeting. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at City Hall and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.
Update: The Historic Preservation Commission meeting will take place in person not at City Hall but at the Central Firehouse, 77 North Seventh Street. This and all subsequent city meetings will take place at the firehouse because of the renovations to City Hall needed to make the building ADA compliant.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Another Hurdle for the Terry-Gillette Mansion

In March 2022, when the plan to convert the Terry-Gillette mansion, the former Elks Lodge at 601 Union Street, into a boutique hotel came before the Zoning Board of Appeals for a use variance, the owners of adjacent and nearby properties appeared at the public hearing to speak in support of the project. Diane Townsend, who lives next door at 555 Union Street, seemed to sum up the feeling of the neighborhood when she said of the proposed hotel, "This will benefit the area far more than any other use."

In the intervening time, the plans for the hotel have changed. Original plans to site a pool and event space on the roof had to be abandoned because of structural concerns, and the proposal is now to locate these amenities, along with a kitchen and bar, a gym and spa, an event space, and additional guest rooms, behind the building. These changes require an amended area variance. 

On Friday, February 10, the plans for the hotel were enthusiastically received by the Historic Preservation Commission. On Wednesday, February 15, the Zoning Board of Appeals, which is considering the application for an amended use variance, held a public hearing on the project. At this hearing, negative concern about the project was voiced for the first time. 

Although the proposed new construction is described as being behind the former Elks Lodge, most of it is actually behind the municipal parking lot and behind the historic house and garden at 611 Union Street.

At the public hearing on Wednesday, Walter Brett, who has owned the house at 611 Union Street since 1984 and continues to maintain the gardens created by his late wife, Cassandra Danz, a.k.a. Mrs. Greenthumbs, and memorialized in the book Mrs. Greenthumbs: How I Turned a Boring Yard into a Glorious Garden and How You Can, Too, expressed his concerns about the impact of the hotel's plans on his house. Brett shared with the ZBA this picture of current view from his backyard.

It is in the area beyond the fence that the proposed new buildings would be located. Brett acknowledged that he never imagined this area would remain unchanged forever, but the idea of buildings there was problematic. "It's one thing to have a hotel," Brett told the ZBA, "but all of this in the backyard is going to be noise and light." He noted that the kitchen and bar would be 100 feet from his back bedroom. He predicted that the hotel development would diminish the value of his property. Brett asserted, "It feels like the circus has come to town permanently, and it has settled in my backyard."

Andrew de Forrest, who appeared at the hearing with Brett, noted that the level of Brett's backyard is fifteen feet above the area where they are proposing to build the structure for the additional guest rooms, which would mean that someone standing in Brett's backyard would look right into the rooms on the second floor.

A spokesperson for Casetta, the group proposing the new hotel, offered assurances that the hotel would have a very calm and quiet atmosphere. "We have done this," she stated, "and we know how to do this in a way that does not disrupt our community." She cited a Casetta hotel in Palm Springs, which she said was adjacent to "multi-multimillion dollar homes." 

Kristal Heinz, the lawyer representing the applicant, said they had learned of Brett's concerns only the day before and had not had time to respond. Janis Gomez Anderson, legal counsel to the ZBA, advised that many of the concerns expressed by Brett and de Forrest were matters for the Planning Board not the Zoning Board of Appeals. She reminded them that there are just four criteria to be considered when granting a use variance:
  1. The applicant cannot realize a reasonable return, provided that lack of return is substantial as demonstrated by competent financial evidence.
  2. The alleged hardship relating to the property in question is unique, and does not apply to a substantial portion of the district or neighborhood.
  3. The requested use variance, if granted, will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood.
  4. The alleged hardship was not self-created.
The ZBA has already granted a use variance for the building to be converted into a hotel. 

Because of the site's proximity to a county building (560 Warren Street, where the Department of Motor Vehicles and the county clerk's office are located), the application must go to the Columbia County Planning Board for a recommendation. The public hearing on the project will remain open until the ZBA's next meeting. The HPC also intends to hold a public hearing on the project.

Hudson Makes Another List

Today, a reader alerted me to a new list that appeared in World Atlas: "12 Most Charming Towns in New York." Heading the list is, you guessed it, Hudson.

Photo: World Atlas
Interesting about this list is what World Atlas says Hudson is known for: "fine dining options, eclectic shopping outlets, and high quality accommodations." Of note is its mention that Hudson's 100 specialty shops are "all run by local entrepreneurs and artists." (Take note councilmembers revising Article XIV of the city code.) 

Unique among lists of this type, World Atlas recommends a visit to the FASNY Museum of Firefighting. It says of Hudson's underappreciated asset: "This most fascinating and important museum not only chronicles the growth of early America, but further honors the sacrifice of all those who have fought and contained fires throughout American history."

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Here's News

One of Gossips' favorite people, Lynn Davis has been nominated for the Frederick Church Award, established by The Olana Partnership to honor individuals who, through their vision, commitment, and grasp of creative trends, make extraordinary contributions to American art and culture.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Happening This Weekend

On Sunday, February 19, the Red Dot celebrates Presidents Day with a show called "Emancipation," an eclectic assemblage of great musicians, singers, and dancers. The show includes a preview of No Cowards in Our Band, an opera based on the words, works, and life of abolitionist statesman Frederick Douglass, which is coming to Hudson Hall in 2024.

Performances are at 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Audience members are encouraged to have brunch or dinner before or during the show. Reservations are recommended. There is no charge for the show, but contributions for Animalkind are welcome.

Meanwhile, at Hudson High School

Last night, the Hudson Police Department issued the following press release:
On Thursday, February 16, 2023, at approximately 6:30 p.m., the Hudson City Police Department received several third-party reports that a student at the High School stated he was going to "shoot up the school tomorrow." This statement has not been confirmed. However, out of an abundance of caution officers will be taking extraordinary measures to make sure the overall safety of our community and our students.
The Columbia County Sheriff's Office is the lead agency investigating this report with our full assistance.
The student who was alleged to make this threat was removed from school and will not be returning tomorrow.
As active investigation is underway and we will update information as it becomes available.
"Students and parents should be aware that we are treating this situation very seriously. Our Department and the Columbia County Sheriff's Department have dedicated considerable resources in order to ensure everyone's safety." Chief
The following statement from Lisamarie Spindler, superintendent of the Hudson City School District, appeared on Facebook:

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Jazz in Hudson

The Hudson Jazz Festival--two weekends of performances at Hudson Hall--began today with an opening night party. 

To check out the schedule, purchase tickets, reserve livestream tickets, or review the menu of Jazz Festival concessions, click here.