Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Highlights from the Planning Board Meeting

It's been more than a week since the Planning Board had its last meeting, and Gossips has been remiss in reporting about it. The entire meeting, which went on for more than three hours, can be viewed here. For those not interested in watching the entire video, Gossips will recap some of the high points.

The meeting began with Lou Pierro, the principal of the group wanting to build a 30-unit market rate apartment building on Fairview Avenue between Oakwood and Parkwood boulevards, noting that it had been a year since his project was first presented to the Planning Board for site plan review. He said they had made a lot of changes to the plans at the request of the Planning Board and suggested it was time for the Planning Board to make a decision. Nevertheless, no decision was made, and Planning Board's review of this controversial project continues. 

The Planning Board did make one decision at its meeting on June 11. They voted to grant site plan approval, with seventeen conditions, to 601 Union Street, the project that will convert the Terry-Gillette mansion at 601 Union Street, for many years the Hudson Elks Lodge, into a boutique hotel. The original application for site plan review of the project is dated December 21, 2022.

The Planning Board meeting also yielded some interesting information about the buildings proposed by Kearney Realty and Development for Mill Street and for the corner of Fourth and State streets. According to Sean Kearney, who was making the presentation to the Planning Board, the project for Mill Street "went for funding last year and lost," so now they are combining the two projects--Mill Street Lofts and State Street Lofts--to seek funding, thinking that describing the project as "scattered site" housing will put it at an advantage. 

Although it appears there are no renderings of the two projects, there are some drawings included in the applications for site plan review. The drawing below shows the site plan for Mill Street Lofts, with the parking lot in front and the buildings--two of them--along the edges.

The application also includes these drawings of the elevations for the buildings--Building 1 and Building 2.

A similar elevation drawing is provided in the application for State Street Lofts.

The building to be known as "State Street Lofts" is across the street from the historic Hudson Almshouse and half a block away from a locally designated historic district. 

The Historic Preservation Commission has more than once been urged to extend the historic district north to 400 State Street, which is individually designated locally and individually listed in the State and National Registers of Historic Places, but the HPC never pursued it. As a consequence, the HPC will have no input on the design of a building in a prominent location in the city.

The applications also include sample floor plans for both Mill Street Lofts and State Street Lofts.

Upon close examination, what seems unusual about the floor plans for both projects is that most of the apartments have their entry door opening into the kitchen.

That may seem unusual, but it is not without precedent. 



  1. Four story buildings on Mill Street seem out of proportion.

  2. Doesn't new construction require ADA compliance? How does a tub-shower configuration comply? With the same concern, I assume they are elevator buildings, please confirm because you never know. Lovely old-fashioned indeed. Walking into the kitchen and no half-bath. So much for being sensitive to the needs of others.

    1. I don't think it's a requirement that every apartment in a new building be ADA compliant, just some of them, and I don't know how many. Both floor plans indicate space for an elevator.

    2. Carole, yes, you are right. It looks like everything is based on the very minimum they can get away with and still adhere to code. I believe they are supposed to be affordable. The builder's interpretation is let's see how little we must invest and pass muster hoping no one will notice. If that's the plan, this level of construction ages and back to housing stock that's obsolete. Don't know the sq. footage, but they look petite. In a 2 bedroom where parent(s) and a child or 2 would reside, how realistic is a one bath apartment? Hudson's planning board set pretty low standards and the lowest bidders rejoice.

    3. A second bathroom being a bare minimum requirement of housing is some real goal-post moving.

    4. There are measurements on architectural images that are embedded in this article. About 650 sqf for the 1BR and 950 for the 2.

    5. Lastly, re: ADA - there are exactly seven criteria that new residential construction* must fulfill to be ADA compliant, and they mostly pertain to paths wide enough and light switches/etc. low enough for wheelchair users.

      *multi-unit construction of 4+ units only

    6. A half bath : toilet and sink in a 2 bedroom means dignity and practicality. A couple of professionals such as a teacher and law enforcement deserve it. Add a child and getting to their demanding jobs just got more complicated.
      Doesn't ADA cover kitchens and baths? The one apartment shown indicates a stall shower. Then there are sinks and countertops.

    7. I've lived in eight two bedroom apartments in and around the area; none of them came with a second bathroom, half or otherwise.

      ADA requires that bathrooms have reinforced walls for the possible future installation of grab bars. It does not require that every bathroom in a building must have a zero step entrance.

    8. Thresholds are very specific. New construction, no higher than half inch and so on.

      Since this is new construction, I assume the builder meets all requirements easily found online for us to view.

      There's no rules on the number of bathrooms but for the sake of hygiene and humanity, a half bath in apartments with 2+ occupants is the most humane configuration. The developer is building the bare minimum. We shouldn't be surprised.

  3. In the middle of a climate crisis (notice the temperature), the City (for the public good) is backing the creation of a huge concrete, gravel and blacktop heat sink on a designated park across the street from some low income, HH ranch homes. The genius of it.

    If only those habitat houses were huge mansions like the ones up on Allen Street, occupied by lawyers, no one would have dared to come up with this idea.

  4. More ugly block apartment buildings with black top parking lots.. Unbelievable how unimaginative developers are. And what do they hope to rent/sell those for?

  5. The word "developer" implies some sort of improvement, so it is really a misnomer. A better word might be "profiteer." The whole idea seems to be of questionable legality. If I lived down on Mill Street, I'd get a lawyer and start writing letters of complaint to the State Representatives.