Friday, May 10, 2024

Friday Morning at the HPC

This morning, at the Historic Preservation Commission meeting, Walter Chatham, who appears before the HPC on behalf of the Galvan Foundation with astonishing regularity, presented a proposal for 201 Union Street. The house is the Aaron C. Macy House, one of the earliest houses in Hudson, associated with the original Proprietors. (For those who have been in Hudson for a while, this was the home of Timothy Dunleavy, founder of Historic Hudson and proprietor of Rural Residence. The house was purchased by Galvan after Dunleavy's death in 2014.) 

201 Union Street in May 2014
What's being proposed is the addition of a porch to the south wing of 201 Union Street, similar to the porch on the adjacent house at 34 South Second Street, a house that was acquired by Eric Galloway (the Gal of Galvan) in 2004.

The addition of a porch involves the removal of the hood that is now over the doorway, an architectural element Chatham said he thought was original to the house. He assured the commission, however, that it would be saved and possibly reused on some other Galvan-owned property in Hudson. Chatham explained that the porch was being built because the current occupant of the house, a Galvan employee, wants a porch.

Although HPC member John Schobel said he didn't think wanting a porch was a good enough reason to alter a historic building and eliminate authentic historic detail and suggested the project needed a public hearing, the commission voted to waive a public hearing and instruct the HPC's attorney to prepare a certificate of appropriateness. Only two members of the commission--Schobel and Paul Barrett, the historian member of the HPC--voted against approving the project. Prior to the vote, Phil Forman, who chairs the commission, said something about historic preservation having to accommodate "issues of liveability," and Kim Wood, the architect member of the HPC, said she liked the idea that the door hood "might turn up on another building [in Hudson]." At the end of the meeting, audience member Ronald Kopnicki expressed the opinion that there had not been sufficient discussion of the project prior to the vote, and Gossips agrees.

The HPC seemed to accept without question the argument that a porch on 201 Union Street would be appropriate because there was already a porch on 34 South Second Street, a house that is essentially a duplicate of 201 Union Street. The truth is that, up until 2010, neither house had a porch--information that would have come to light had there been a public hearing on the project or if the HPC had taken a little more time to consider what was being proposed. 

34 South Second Street in 2010 
The porch on 34 South Second Street was originally part of a plan, presented to the HPC not long after Eric Galloway acquired the house in 2004, to divide the house into two separate dwellings. The status of the north wing as a separate dwelling was to be enhanced by the addition of a "sitting porch." The idea of dividing the house into two houses was abandoned in 2010, because it was determined there was no way to make the north wing big enough to be "marketable." The "sitting porch," however, survived the change of plan. 

Now, it seems, there are to be two such porches along South Second Street, sitting almost side by side--"almost" because the one at 201 Union will be five feet closer to the street than the one at 34 South Second.


  1. Crazy. So much for historic preservation. Galvan gets his way again. And I wonder where that hood will ever turn up. Tim Dunleavy worked for years to restore that building and died before he finished. Sad.

  2. No No No.. what an embarrassing decision by our HPC.

  3. It's absurd that the HPC is using 14 year old building modifications as precedent for new alterations. If only Article 78 applied to these decisions.

  4. Galvan's influence guarantees they will always get their way; they've essentially purchased and claimed ownership of the entire city.