View of Hudson’s South Bay in the 19th Century by Hudson River School artist Sanford Gifford, looking southwest from what is now 3rd Street/Route 9G
Alliance presents new research and past precedents to new Hudson Waterfront Advisory Steering committee
HUDSON, N.Y. (4/14/16) — Aldermen in the City of Hudson unanimously promised not to further develop the famous South Bay, enshrining their promise with a 1982 vote related to the construction of the L&B furniture factory. Despite this forgotten pledge, this area has remained a constant source of conflict and controversy.
On Tuesday, copies of Common Council Resolution No. 5, dated July 20, 1982, were distributed to the newly-reconstituted Waterfront Advisory Steering Committee (WASC) by Valley Alliance co-founder Sam Pratt. Originally created in 2006 but inactive for the past few years, 14 members of the new WASC were appointed by Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton this month. The 1982 vote, unanimously agreed to by all nine aldermen present, resolved that:
“the City of Hudson will take no affirmative action seeking to develop fresh water wetland HS-2 in the South Bay area generally and more particularly located in a southerly direction from a line to be placed as evidenced by red monument markers on the scaled drawing which is annexed hereto…”
The resolution was approved by Council President Albert “Turk” Traver, along with aldermen Apicella, Barringer, Formichelli, Fowler, Hoffman, and Jablanski. Also in favor were Alderman Al Kritzman, who in the 1990s served as the City Assessor, and Alderman Bill Allen, who later was elected Mayor.
“Years ago, a member of the Columbia County Sportsmen’s Association tipped me off that someone should look into the agreements surrounding the construction of L&B in Hudson,” Pratt explained to the Committee on Tuesday, referring to the old name of the building behind Basilica Hudson. “He said there was controversy over building in the South Bay, particularly from sportsmen, and that an agreement had been made to satisfy their concerns. It took a lot of digging through microfilm in libraries and submitting FOIL requests before the resolution finally turned up.” Pratt also thanked City Clerk Tracy Delaney for her assistance in producing documents.
Detail of City of Hudson map attached to Common Council resolution, showing the locations where markers were to be placed south of the L&B factory building
Asked by WASC members what the 1982 language meant, Pratt said an example of an “affirmative action” by the City which would be barred by the resolution might for example be the approval of an Planning Board application to build there. The Council’s passage of certain provisions of its Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP), authorizing truck traffic and changing zoning in the area, similarly would have been an “affirmative action” in direct contradiction of the Council’s pledge.
“It’s kind of astonishing, given the amount of public debate and controversy about this area that this promise by the Council was never remembered,” Pratt added. “It certainly might have changed a few things, and averted a lot of arguments and expense. We hope it still can.”
The Valley Alliance previously supported the successful designation in 2012 of the South Bay Creek and Marsh as a protected “Significant Coastal Fish & Wildlife Habitat.” That State designation means that any projects requiring review for consistency with its “coastal” policies must undergo a separate review to ensure they do not threaten the natural resources of this area. Map from South Bay Creek & Marsh designation showing wetland HS-2, annotated by the Valley Alliance to show area Common Council vowed not to develop
The Alliance in 2013 likewise unveiled legal research showing that 4.4 acres thatHudson was planning to buy or swap with a developer in exchange for other favors were actually already owned by the City itself, due to its early 90s failure to legally transfer the acreage to the St. Lawrence Cement company. The City eventually conceded that the Alliance’s research was correct, and the land transfer did not proceed.
(Pratt, a former Clearwater board member, mentioned to the WASC that a boat-builder for the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater had once wanted to site his educational and commercial operation on these 4.4 acres, before Hudson improperly transferred them to the cement company.)
Historical Background Presented to WASC
Map from South Bay Creek & Marsh designation showing wetland HS-2, annotated by the Valley Alliance to show area Common Council vowed not to develop
On Tuesday, the Alliance also presented a large packet of documents to the Advisory Steering Committee, detailing past studies, decisions, controversies, and other history related to the much-contested Hudson Waterfront area.
This included a review of a 1977 Columbia County Planning land use planning study, the 1980s Octane Petroleum fight, the Americlean toxic waste proposal in the late 1990s, the Hudson Vision Plan in the ’90s and Comprehensive Plan at the turn of the century, the St. Lawrence Cement proposal denied in 2005, the formation of the WASC, and the LWRP process which began in 2006, more. For instance, the Army Corps of Engineers in the early ’90s showed interest in a restoration project for South Bay, an idea Prat suggested might be revisited.
At the suggestion of 1st Ward Alderman Rick Rector, who was in attendance in the audience, The Valley Alliance is going to build an archive of the above materials and many others in its possession, so that both officials and members of the public can familiarize themselves with both the history of the Waterfront, and decisions guiding future planning in the area. These will be posted in the next 10-14 days at: www.hudsonwaterfront.org
“I’m delighted to see Hudson Mayor Tiffany Martin-Hamilton taking positive steps toward improvement of our waterfront, and very much appreciate those who have stepped up to serve on the new committee,” said Alliance co-founder Peter Jung. “The Valley Alliance has a substantial archive of relevant materials which we are glad to share with the community as the process moves forward. Our waterfront can become a major recreational, ecological and cultural resource as well as an economic engine for the City.”
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For copies of any of the documents mentioned above, including the full 1982 Common Council resolution, please email email@example.com or call 518-755-6624