Friday, May 3, 2024

A Tale of Two Municipalities

The Town of Stuyvesant and the City of Hudson are both currently working on updating their comprehensive plans. Stuyvesant's comprehensive plan was adopted in 1996; Hudson's in 2002. Earlier this week, Stuyvesant kicked off the work of revising its comprehensive plan with a joint workshop with the town's Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals. The workshop was an open meeting, and the public was urged to participate. The following is quoted from a message from Stuyvesant supervisor Ron Knott, which appeared on the Town of Stuyvesant website:
As much as we need a professional firm, they cannot do their job effectively without input from local residents. Our town planning and zoning boards know best what issues are challenging our town.
We have planned a joint workshop for April 30th at 6 pm at our town hall. This is an open meeting where I look to gather ideas from all involved. Those ideas can become goals for either a grant application or direction for a professional firm to guide us through this process. Please come and discuss your perceived challenges that could help guide Stuyvesant for years to come!
By comparison, here in Hudson, work on a new comprehensive plan has been going on for several months now in "internal meetings" with Public Works Partners, the consultants that have been hired for the project. Involved in those internal meetings were Mayor Kamal Johnson, Council president Tom DePietro, former mayor's aide Michael Hofmann, and housing justice mananger Michelle Tullo. 

Yesterday, the first effort to involve the public came with the launch of the Community Preference Survey. The press release announcing the launch also reveals the names of the people chosen to serve on the steering committee (there are thirteen rather than twelve as originally announced). It seems the steering committee was formed two months ago, but the members of the committee were never announced until now. Speaking of the steering committee at the Common Council meeting in March, DePietro said it was made up of people "who are not involved in politics at all," explaining, "The idea was to reach out to a demographic that doesn't normally show up to these kinds of meetings." It appears they succeeded in their goal, although it may be the case that a few of the names of the people involved are misspelled in the press release, which is reproduced, unedited, below.
Residents of Hudson are asked to complete a Community Preference Survey to provide their input for the City’s Comprehensive Plan.
The City of Hudson is actively developing an updated Comprehensive plan to guide its future land use and legislative priorities. The Plan will focus on all aspects of the City's future, including housing transportation, parks, economic development, and urban design, among other areas.
To ensure the Plan accurately reflects the community's priorities, Hudson residents will be engaged throughout 2024 and early 2025 through community meetings, surveys, and visioning sessions. Public Works Partners and SLR Consulting will assist the City of Hudson throughout the planning process.
The survey can be accessed at
The City's existing Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 2002, is no longer reflective of the challenges and opportunities faced by the City. From the rise of short-term rentals to the expanded possibility of remote work for many jobs, the context that guides Hudson's land use priorities changed in the years since the previous plan's adoption. As a result of these changes, the City's demographics, key industries, and cost of living have affected residents--some benefitting, but others facing housing and employment challenges. An updated Comprehensive Plan, led by a community driven process, will ensure that land use decisions are aligned with the City's current needs and priorities.
The Comprehensive Planning Process is an iterative process that begins with an analysis of existing conditions in Hudson, then seeks community input and feedback based on this analysis to craft a vision and goals for the future. Over the next year, the recommendations of the Comprehensive Plan will be shaped by the public engagement process, input from City boards and stakeholders, and insight and feedback from the Steering Committee.
The general timeline looks like:
  • Jan-Mar 2024: Existing Conditions analysis and Steering Committee development
  • May 2024: Community preference Survey Launches
  • Late May/Early June 2024: Community Vision Workshop I
  • Summer 2024: Community Vision Workshop II
  • December 2024: Community Vision Workshop III
  • February 2025: Draft Recommendation
  • April 2025: Final Comprehensive Plan
A Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee of Hudson residents will volunteer their local expertise and vision throughout the planning process. Committee members will help ensure that engagement activities reach a diverse array of Hudson residents, provide feedback on early iterations of the Draft Comprehensive Plan, and contribute input at every stage of the project. Steering Committee members include:
    • Alex Elmasri
    • Alex Petraglia
    • Javed Iqbal
    • Jayden Cross
    • Jess Wallen
    • Joshua Cohen
    • Kali Michael
    • Kim Hunt
    • Liza Dolan
    • Pat Molly
    • Piper Olf
    • Shaina Marron
    • Sonja Okun
The project seeks to develop a consensus-based vision and goals for Hudson’s future through a robust and accessible engagement process. Opportunities for residents to contribute to the City’s future will include:

We will be hosting the first Community Visioning Workshop later this spring, so stay tuned for the event details. You can also sign up for updates regarding events related to the Comprehensive Plan here:


  1. Shouldn't our city code be updated first? Why is there never any effort or discussion to do this long overdue necessity? Is it because it would be too difficult for city hall to do alone, forcing us to hire a consulting firm to do it for us?

    1. No; updating zoning codes before updating the comprehensive would mean you're amending local ordinances with no idea what the goals are. The plan sets the goals. Per NYS: 'In New York, the zoning enabling acts continue to require that zoning be undertaken “in accord with
      a well considered plan” or “in accordance with a comprehensive plan.” '

  2. I seem to recall that when the DRI money was announced a large "steering committee" was formed to figure out what to do with the money. Workshops were held and in the end no one could agree on anything. 13 people (the size of the Comprehensive Plan committee) is going to end up in the same position; 13 people with 13 points of view and little compromise (a seemingly common theme in Hudson). Why can't we be like Stuyvesant? Keep it simple with engagement from people who want to be engaged and come up with a plan. Instead we have yet another (paid) consultant, an oversize committee and a lot of buzz words ("visioning workshops", "stakeholders", etc.) and a community preference (preference!?) survey. They keep mentioning "land use". What land? I think a CP is a good idea (as is a City Manager), but this just seems like another journey down the rabbit hole where nothing is going to get done (think Truck Route and Sidewalks).

  3. It'll never cease to amaze me how the tiny City of Hudson consistently manages to devise the most grandiose procedure imaginable to do anything.

  4. For seven years, citizens provided an enormous volume of quality information to the Hudson Planning Board regarding the proposition for an expanded gravel dump and truck route on our waterfront. All of it was ignored. So why would anyone bother to show up for a civic proceeding in this town? City Hall does not give a rat's ass about popular sentiment.