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.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

After the Feast . . .

Thanksgiving is just two days away, and after Thanksgiving thoughts turn to shopping for all the holidays that involve giving gifts. Basilica Farm & Flea Holiday Market, now a well-established tradition in Hudson, is again offering an enjoyable and rewarding alternative to shopping at big box stores on Black Friday, on Small Business Saturday, and on Sunday, which has no particular name--November 24, 25, and 26. All the information about the holiday market and the vendors participating can be found here.

One of the vendors at Basilica Farm & Flea again this year is the Hudson Area Library History Room. If you are looking for gifts that are uniquely and unmistakably Hudson, this is the booth you should seek out. They will be selling familiar merchandise, like the tea towels and tote bags featuring Tony Kieraldo's drawing of the Hudson Armory, the library's home, . . . 

and the SPOUT mugs, designed by Alan Coon and Kelley Drahushuk, and SPOUT vinyl stickers. (SPOUT is the acronym for Society to Promote Our Unique Town, a business and citizens group created in 1975.)

New for the holiday season are ornaments and coasters created by Philmont-based artist Jess Cropper-Alt, which bear the iconic Hudson whale. 

The SPOUT whale logo, affectionately known as "Spouty," featured on History Room merchandise, is the same whale that appears on Hudson street signs. It was designed for the Society to Promote Our Unique Town by Richard Kraham, who in 1975 was the Register-Star design director and the graphic coordinator for SPOUT. Kraham has generously given the library permission to use the logo for display, research, and merchandising.

If you miss out buying your Hudson-themed gifts at Basilica Farm & Flea Holiday Market, you can always shop online at the History Room Shop:

Monday, November 20, 2023


I debated about whether I should attend the meeting of the Hudson Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, which was scheduled to happen today at 6:00 p.m., in person or on Zoom. At the September meeting, which I attended on Zoom, the architects working on the project, Alexander Gorlin Architects, never showed the plans they were presenting to the Zoom camera, so in October, I attended the meeting in person. 

At the October meeting, the only one of the architects present assiduously avoided displaying the drawings she was sharing with the Board in a way that would allow me to see them. I got a better view of the materials from watching the video of the meeting the next day.

So tonight, I decided to save myself the bother, stay at home, and attend the meeting on Zoom. That was a mistake. I clicked on the link to the Zoom meeting at 5:55 p.m., and for the next 40 minutes I got nothing but these messages. (They appeared on the screen simultaneously, but to avoid reproducing a lot of white space, I captured each one separately.) 

After 40 minutes, I gave up hope that the host would ever start the meeting or let me in.

It is not clear what happened. I try not to be so paranoid as to think the host, whoever that may be, deliberately excluded me from the meeting. It's more likely that no one thought to turn on the Owl. Still, if a meeting is advertised as a hybrid, it should be a hybrid, and if you are planning a project that is going to have a significant impact on the character of a very small city, little more than two square miles, you should be more open about sharing what you are planning with the people who live in that city and are invested in that city. 

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Meetings of Interest in the Week Ahead

There's not much happening this week in the runup to Thanksgiving, but the meetings that will take place are of some importance.
  • On Monday, November 20, the Hudson Housing Authority Board of Commissioners holds its monthly meeting at 6:00 p.m. As we know, HHA is planning a major redevelopment and significant expansion of its properties. They have renewed their option to buy three parcels now owned by Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency (HCDPA), but exactly what they, their development partner Mountco, and the architects from Alexander Gorlin Architects are proposing has so far been a well guarded secret. Perhaps at this meeting we will learn more about the current plan to transform Hudson, half a century after the last transformation. 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, November 21, the Common Council holds a special meeting at 5:45 p.m. to approve the proposed budget for 2024. At the public hearing on the budget, which took place last Thursday and lasted all of five minutes, the only person to comment was Kristal Heinz, who said she wanted the City to find ways to address its SPDES (State Pollution Discharge Elimination System) issues in order to "keep all this development moving forward." 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, November 21, the Common Council holds its regular monthly meeting. The agenda for the meeting includes a resolution authorizing the mayor to execute a sale tax agreement with Columbia County. The distribution of sales tax is based on ZIP code, and because the ZIP code 12534 includes Greenport and all its big box stores, the amount of sales tax that comes to Hudson is always a matter of negotiation. 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, November 17, 2023

Never Mind . . .

It turns out the attempted kidnapping reported yesterday wasn't that at all. The driver thought to be trying to lure a child into his van was only trying to tell the child he had dropped his jacket. Here is today's press release from the Hudson Police Department.
Following a thorough and intensive investigation, the Hudson Police Department has determined that the reported incident of attempted child kidnapping did not occur within our jurisdiction. The collaborative efforts of the Hudson Police Department, New York State Police, New York State Bridge Authority, Columbia County Sheriff’s Department, and the Hudson City School District were instrumental in resolving this matter.
Upon locating the vehicle and driver today, it was revealed that a language barrier led to a misinterpretation of the events. The driver had observed a child dropping a jacket on the walking/bicycle path. In an attempt to inform the child, the driver stopped and made a hand gesture pointing to the rear of the vehicle. The driver had a strong accent, and the child believed the driver was instructing him to "get into the back" of the van.
Police Commissioner Shane Bower expressed pride in the collaborative efforts of all involved agencies, stating, "I am proud of the work from the members of our Police Department and all the additional agencies that assisted in this investigation. No crimes were committed, and we are now able to close this case."
“I want to commend the quick and decisive actions taken by the children involved.  The ability to react appropriately in a potentially dangerous situation is commendable. Moreover, I am beyond proud of the hard work and dedication exhibited by our Officers throughout the course of this investigation to keep our community safe and informed.”- Chief Franklin
The Hudson Police Department remains committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of our community, and we appreciate the support and cooperation of the public throughout this investigation.

Returning to an Earlier Time

Once upon a time in Hudson, large signs painted on the sides of buildings were a common sight. The ghosts of some of these signs survive today. 

This morning, the Historic Preservation Commission approved a sign, 18.5 feet by 10.5 feet, to be painted on the exposed east side of 449 Warren Street, the location of Olde Hudson.

In approving the sign, HPC member Miranda Barry commented, "It's in keeping with the way signs used to be done in Hudson." HPC member John Schobel observed, "It's not vintage brick," implying that fact made the decision to allow the painted sign easier. 

The building at 449 Warren was constructed by Galvan over a period of three years, from 2012 to 2015. The HPC's review of the design for the building was a grueling process and the subject of the commission's first ever workshop. For those curious about Hudson's recent history, Gossips account of that workshop makes interesting reading: "HPC Holds Its First Workshop."

449 Warren Street under construction in 2014

Thursday, November 16, 2023

It Happened in Hudson Today

Gossips received the following press release from the Hudson Police Department this afternoon.
On Thursday, November 16, 2023, the Hudson Police Department received a call around noon about a reported possible child kidnapping attempt of a 10-year-old child. The child was walking down Harry Howard Avenue in the area of the Crosswinds Apartments when he was approached by a white van driven by white male, reported be in his 30s, who spoke Spanish. The driver stopped near the child and told the child to to get in the van. 
The child ran to his 13-year-old sister for safety. The sister witnessed the van stop but was too far away to hear what the driver said. A picture of the suspect’s van was obtained through video surveillance in the area.

The child and family are currently safe. This is an ongoing active investigation.

Your cooperation is crucial, and we encourage anyone with information to contact the Hudson Police Department at 518-828-3388. Updates will follow as the investigation progresses.
"We understand the concern this incident has raised in our community. The safety of our residents, especially our children, is our top priority. Rest assured, we are working tirelessly on this investigation. Our commitment to ensuring the well-being of every individual remains unwavering. Updates will be shared as soon as possible. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.”--Chief Franklin

Suggesting the Unthinkable

At the informal Common Council meeting this past Monday, Councilmember Margaret Morris (First Ward) raised an issue relating to the Youth Department budget. Citing data that indicated one third of the children participating in programs at the Youth Center do not live in Hudson, she suggested that there should be a nonresident fee at the Youth Center for children who do not reside in Hudson. She noted that the Youth Department already charges a nonresident fee for its summer program at Oakdale Lake.

Mayor Kamal Johnson, attending the meeting on Zoom, urged the Council "to err on caution" when considering charging "kids who have been displaced." He spoke about kids who are going to the Youth Center "because their friends, who used to be their neighbors, are going there." He warned against making such a decision without public input and cautioned that such a meeting "could get out of hand" if people perceive that "services are being taken away from the youth." He made reference to a recent meeting of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, attended by a large group of people there to appeal to the supervisors not to evict the Hudson Youth Clubhouse from 11 Warren Street. (Johnson might also have cited a BEA workshop on the Youth Department budget back in November 2018, when a bag of dog feces was hurled at Mayor Rick Rector.)

Annette Perry appealing to the Board of Supervisors on behalf of the Youth Clubhouse
As Gossips has reported, Columbia County is buying 11 Warren Street, Hudson's failed, 1970s era strip mall, from the Galvan Foundation, which has owned the building since 2014. It is Galvan not the County that is evicting the Clubhouse, expecting the program to be out of the building by the end of this month. Jammel Cutler reported on the situation last month in the Register-Star: "D-Day near for Hudson Youth Clubhouse." 

It was revealed at the meeting that the sale of the building has not yet closed, and the Board of Supervisors plans to hold a public meeting sometime in December to determine what county agencies will be going into the building once the County has taken ownership.

Meetings Tonight

Today at 5:30 p.m., there is a public hearing on the proposed city budget for 2024. The hearing is a hybrid, taking place in person at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, and on Zoom. Click here to view the budget. Click here to join the meeting remotely.

Prior to the public hearing, at 5:15 p.m., there is a special meeting of the Common Council to consider a resolution authorizing the submission of a Building Decarbonization Grant application for $100,000. The purpose of the grant is to fund the installation of solar arrays on the DPW garage on Dock Street and at the water treatment plant at the top of Rossman Avenue. The special 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 15, 2023

Who Else Got Funding

Earlier today, Gossips reported the good news that Friends of the Public Square (FOPS) had been awarded a $500,000 grant to finance Phase I of the rejuvenation of Seventh Street Park--new paving, new seating, new signage, new lighting, new landscaping. That was just one of the projects in Columbia that was funded in Round 13 of the state's Regional Economic Development Council CFA (Consolidated Funding Application) process. The total of $5.6 million went to projects in Columbia County. Here are the projects of greatest to Gossips readers.
  • Hudson Hall received $70,650 in Market New York funds to produce and promote next year's Hudson Jazz Festival.
  • Hudson Athens Lighthouse Preservation Society received a $500,000 EPF (Environmental Protection Fund) grant to repair and restore the underwater foundation of the lighthouse.    
  • Union Street Brewing Co. received a $48,625 Craft Beverage Micro Grant to expand its operation.
  • Montgomery Street Projects LLC received a $1,526,168 Carbon Neutral Community Economic Development Grant from NYSERDA to develop the former Kaz warehouse site as an arts and food hub.
  • Art Omi received $2 million in Market New York funds for a major capital project that will include eighteen pavilions anchored by a visitors center.
For a complete list of all the Regional Economic Development Council awards throughout the state, click here.

Rejuvenating Seventh Street Park

Friends of the Public Square (FOPS) announced today that they have received a $500,000 EPF grant through the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to complete Phase I of the plan to rejuvenate Seventh Street Park, also known as the Public Square.

Phase I involves improvements to pavement, seating, signage, lighting, and landscaping. In October, FOPS received a grant of $100,000 from The Spark of Hudson for planting trees, shrubs, and other greenery in the park.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Pushing the Limits

Bill Huston has a reputation for his relentless criticism of city government and city management, which he expresses on his blog HUDseen, in regular emails to city officials, in frequent visits to City Hall, and at city meetings. Huston was previously banned from City Hall and consigned to participate in city meetings only on Zoom. Now that city meetings are taking place at the Central Fire Station because of the renovations to City Hall, Huston is back in person at meetings, arguing that the ban does not apply to the fire station. Last night, his persistent questioning during the informal meeting of the Common Council led to his being ejected from the meeting by Chief Mishanda Franklin.

The informal meeting is when department heads and/or commissioners make reports to the Common Council. Last night, Huston had a least one question for everyone making a report. Of Liz Yorck, youth director, he demanded to know why the Youth Department used Facebook to communicate information when using Facebook is considered by many to put children at risk. Of Shawn Hoffman, fire chief, Huston wanted to know why volunteer firefighters are allowed to exceed the speed limit getting to the fire station. When Councilmember Ryan Wallace (Third Ward) cited NYS code, clarifying that it was allowed by law, Huston persisted. It was then that Mayor Kamal Johnson, attending the meeting on Zoom, stated that he did not want his commissioners harassed by Huston. But Huston's questions didn't stop.

When Franklin had completed the monthly report for the Police Department, Huston wanted to know why there were not more foot patrols in Seventh Street Park. Franklin's response indicated that Huston had emailed her about this issue several times, and she had already provided the answer. After Rob Perry made his report on the Department of Public Works, Huston quizzed him about parking policy in the municipal lot behind City Hall. Why were the alternate side rules for overnight parking abandoned, making it impossible for the street sweeper to clean the lot? When Perry explained that is was a decision made years ago by the mayor, the police chief, and the Planning Board, prompted by requests from the community, Huston persisted, asking if Perry was content with the state of the parking lot, given that it could not be swept regularly. It was then that Franklin interceded and told Huston he had to leave the meeting. Apparently at Franklin's request, Wallace called the police station to request a car to take Huston away.

The incident inspired Councilmember Dominic Merante (Fifth Ward) to suggest that the Council needed to revisit the issue of decorum at its meetings. Council president Tom DePietro alluded to the rules of order that are adopted by the Council each year and commented, "The person in question continually abuses those limits." 


The Amnesty Period Has Begun

Gossips has been reporting about this since August, when the idea of creating an amnesty program for people with long delinquent parking tickets was first presented to the Common Council by Mayor Kamal Johnson. Today, a press release from the mayor's office announces that the amnesty program has begun. 

The City of Hudson and Mayor Kamal Johnson are pleased to announce a temporary amnesty program for significantly delinquent parking tickets. Effective until December 31, 2023, individuals may apply for amnesty on unpaid parking tickets issued prior to January 1, 2020, to pay only the original ticket amount, with late fees and other penalties waived.
"We established this program to give folks with old parking tickets the chance to start 2024 off with a clean slate," said Mayor Kamal Johnson. "Temporarily waiving late fees--which in many cases now far exceeds the original cost of the ticket--is one tool we have to help make that happen."
Those who wish to participate in the amnesty program must submit an application (form link) to the City of Hudson Parking Bureau via email, postal mail, or by dropping off at the office's temporary location:

    • Email: (include "Parking Ticket Amnesty Program Application" in subject line)
    • Mail: City Hall, attn: Parking Bureau, 520 Warren Street, Hudson, NY 12534
    • Drop-off: Central Fire Station, 77 N. 7th Street, Hudson, NY 12534
Registered owners that have multiple vehicles must provide all license plates for their vehicles in their amnesty application. Once the application is received, the Parking Bureau will research all applicable outstanding tickets eligible for amnesty and contact the applicant with further instructions for payment.
Question regarding the amnesty program may be directed to the Parking Bureau at 518-828-0218 or

Monday, November 13, 2023

Fire on Warren Street

Late this afternoon, there was a fire at 407 Warren Street, former home of The Cascades, everyone's favorite and sorely missed breakfast and lunch spot.

Photo: Hudsonwail | Instagram
Photo: Mark Allen
Hudson fire chief, Shawn Hoffman, who, because of the fire, arrived late to the informal Common Council meeting tonight, reported, "Another building saved." He went on to say that the fire was limited to the second floor, there was minimal damage, and reiterated that the building had been saved.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Meetings and Events in the Week Ahead

This week, we reach the midpoint of November. As the days grow shorter and colder, and we move inexorably toward winter, there is a lot happening this week.
  • On Monday, November 13, at 3:30 p.m., there is a "Rally to Take Back CD19 & Oppose Rep. Marc Molinaro & His Extremist GOP." The rally takes place in Seventh Street Park, a.k.a. the Public Square.
  • Also on Monday, November 13, the Common Council holds a special meeting at 5:45 p.m. to consider a resolution "identifying the City of Hudson as the responsible local official authorized to access NYDOT's EBO 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.
  • At 6:00 p.m. on Monday, November 13, the Common Council holds its informal meeting. The Council will likely be discussing the proposed budget for 2024. In addition to that, the only thing on the agenda so far is a resolution authorizing a vendor contract with Columbia County Recovery Kitchen to provide after-school meals at the Youth Center. 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, November 14, the Planning Board meets at 6:00 p.m. Among other things, the Colarusso application for site plan approval to expand its haul road through South Bay in on the agenda. 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, November 15, the Zoning Board of Appeals meets at 6:00 p.m. No agenda is available for the meeting, which takes place in person only at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street.
  • On Thursday, November 16, at 5:30 p.m., there is a public hearing on the proposed budget for 2024. The hearing 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 Friday, November 17, the Historic Preservation Commission meets at 10:00 a.m. This will be the HPC's only meeting in November. On the agenda for the meeting is a public hearing on the proposed alternations to 122 Union Street to bring the 21st-century addition more in character with the original house and the surrounding neighborhood. 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. 

In Case You Missed It

Jamie Larsen had an article last month in Rural Intelligence about the Park Theater and Shanan Magee, the man who brought it back to life: "Hudson's Park Theater: A 1921 Movie House Is Now a Vibrant Performance Space."  

Photo: David McIntyre

Living Up to Its Name

Ever since its founding in 1959, the library in Hudson has been called the Hudson Area Library. It was chartered to serve the City of Hudson and the towns of Greenport and Stockport, but when it came to financial support, the City of Hudson was the principal contributor. With the most recent election, that situation changed slightly.

Photo: Times Union
In Tuesday's election, the ballot in Greenport included the following proposition: "Shall the annual contribution of the Town of Greenport for the operating budget of the Hudson Area Association Library be $85,000 annually?" The proposition passed, with 647 yes votes and 409 no votes.  

Of course, last year the voters of Hudson agreed to increase Hudson's annual contribution to the library's operating budget by $100,000, raising it from $250,000 to $350,000.