Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Developing the Hudson hinterlands
Part 1: Put your money on sprawl

Last month, the Register-Star reported that the Hudson Common Council has been asked to explore the transfer of a 33-acre parcel from the school district to the city. The city would in turn sell the unused parcel, located behind Hudson High School, for private development. This would generate revenues for the city through the sale as well as through future tax revenues.

Fiscally speaking, this seems like an excellent idea. Unfortunately, it is an inducement to create sprawl. The site is located far from existing physical and social infrastructure, most notably the Hudson grid. Presumably it would receive residential development, but anything built on the site will be automobile dependent.
A 33-acre parcel behind Hudson High School may be made available for private development.

Not far away, in Hudson's North Bay, the Columbia Land Conservancy has been pursuing a plan to create a conservation area. It would touch the Hudson street grid on the south and connect to the existing Greenport Conservation Area on the north. Question 1: Is there any land that the Conservancy has included in its plan that is a.) adjacent to the street grid, and b.) buildable?

The answer would seem to be "mostly no," as much of the land in the vicinity is swampy, steeply sloped, toxic, and unstable. But to the extent the answer is "yes," I pose Question 2: Can we rethink things a bit, such that the school district parcel becomes part of the conservation area and any buildable land near the city grid gets built on instead?

In Part 2, I'll look at an ambitious possibility for growing Hudson on an urban, rather than suburban, model.


  1. Seeing this view makes me realize how connected the pieces are, or can be. Interesting. We've flown kites on the hill over the North Bay area, and I never thought of it being behind/abutting the FASNY site.
    The missing piece from Third to Mill to that little spur off of Harry Howard jumps out on this map. I know there is a pathway there, but when, if ever, was it a road?

  2. Hi I would like to know why is toxic? "...as much of the land in the vicinity is swampy, steeply sloped, toxic, and unstable"

  3. Some toxins are from past industrial activity. Landfill portions contain who knows what below the surface, and emit methane and other gases.