Friday, March 15, 2024

News of the Comprehensive Plan

It's been six months since Gossips reported anything about the comprehensive plan, but apparently that doesn't mean there was nothing to report. It only means that City Hall has been releasing no information about the work that is going on. 

In September 2023, Celeste Frye, the CEO of Public Works Partners, the consultants hired to help with the new comprehensive plan, shared this timeline in her presentation to the Common Council.

Six months in, we should be well into the public engagement phase, but that doesn't seem to be the case. 

Reporting to the Common Council at its informal meeting on Monday, Michelle Tullo, Hudson's housing justice manager, said she was "heading up" the comprehensive plan, saying there have been "internal meetings" with Public Works Partners. Questions from councilmembers elicited the information that those present at those internal meetings were Mayor Kamal Johnson, Council president Tom DePietro, mayor's aide Michael Hofmann, and Tullo. It was also revealed that a steering committee has been established, but it has not been revealed who is on that steering committee. 

In July, Gossips reported that a call for volunteers for the steering committee appeared on the app Hudson Hub and nowhere else. Whether or not the steering committee was drawn from those who volunteered is not known, but it seems unlikely given what DePietro said on Monday. According to DePietro, the steering committee is made up of twelve people "who are not involved in politics at all." He elaborated, "The idea was to reach out to a demographic that doesn't normally show up to these kinds of meetings." DePietro described the goal of the comprehensive plan by saying, "A big part of this is smart growth--how do we grow smartly rather than letting things happen randomly."

Hudson's previous comprehensive plan was adopted in 2002. That plan can be found here. The new comprehensive plan is costing $208,000, one third of which is covered by a grant. Presumably the rest of the money is coming from the general fund. 


  1. It seems like once again we are paying consultants a lot of many to tell us what we should do. It seems the only people making any money in Hudson are all the consultants we hire.

  2. A plan is a great thing to operate by, but unless you have the ability to execute your plan (with sufficient and competent staff, proper protocols and procedures, money, etc) you will fail. Or you will need to hire a consultant to show you how to execute your new plan. Might as well hire a city manager and get rid of the mayor - it would save us money in the long run.

  3. This is long overdue. And I’m excited, and encouraged by the City’s efforts to include more and more of our neighbors in the process. The more who show up, the stronger our plan.

    At the risk of repeating myself, the Planning Gap is the single biggest obstacle to progress in Hudson. The Planning Gap has two parts.

    First, we have an outdated Comprehensive Plan. Typically, these are updated every 10 years, mapping out the next 5 to 10 years. Ours is from 2002.

    In 2002, Facebook did not exist, Anna Nicole Smith’s show premiered on E!, Tobey Maguire was Spider-Man, The Wire premiered on HBO, and the second iPod Launched with 20G

    Second, we have no one qualified whose job it is to represent a Plan in development decision-making. Nothing connects to anything else, because nothing connects to a plan. And nothing connects to a plan, because it’s nobody’s job to make that connection visible.

    The Comprehensive Plan is an exciting opportunity.
    We are being given a once in a generation opportunity to have a conversation about the kind of city we want to be. I hope to see you there.

    But, it is only half of the Planning Gap.
    My question is: How do we build planning capacity to execute the plan and represent our voices in the years after this process?

    1. You’re half right: we have no one in city government who is seemingly up to the task of leading. We do, however, have a chief executive office under our charter — the mayor. The fact that he’d rather fiddle than work is sad but true.