City Council Meeting Feb 2nd, 2021
Important topics in discussion: Pickle-ball, Tennis, and Rec Centers Former High school (Middle school) renovation Hal DeSaussure retiring DORA Short Term Rentals The Rest Public Comments: To make a long discussion short – we listened to a whole lot of people about Tennis and Pickle-ball. How many? Half the meeting. I get it. You want Tennis and Pickle-ball courts. I think the design is too big (5 Tennis and 12 pickle-ball courts). Every time I asked about why it had to be this size it started with “Schools…” something. At least everyone is being transparent. You got me. I’ll be fine with it. It is bigger than I would like but if you build 3-4 courts, I’m not falling on a sword over 5. Parks does have the money in its budget over the next couple years. I’d expect it to be a 2023 thing, plus or minus 1 year, based on Parks budget and the speed at which city items move. We also heard via e-mail throughout the week and during 1 letter read at council that most people were not enamored by the recent suggestion to buy a rec center via a property tax levy by Mrs Kowalski. The letters commented on the number of pools that have closed over the past years because of their expense to maintain, the age and condition of the specific facility proposed, and the recently rising cost of living. In fact Summit County Property taxes will go up about 10% for Hudson residents this year – letters were issued last month and according to the auditor Hudson saw a 9.9% increase. Businesses in Hudson saw far higher increases. That along with suggested income tax increases (rollback of previous tax cuts) make for poor timing to buy into businesses that require substantial improvements along with annual membership fees on top of a levy. The middle school renovation (my old high school) – we received a petition to stop all activity on the current proposal to renovate this into condo’s and housing. I am not making light of this. Many people don’t really understand the mechanics of the school board and council, but City Council has no authority over the School Board or school property. Right now, the school board is making suggestions about school property. Council has zero authority over this discussion. This is on the school board 100%. It hits council if the school board decides to rezone the property or do something that the zoning or density would not allow. At that point council will weigh in on if that is permissible, desirable, and vote on changes. Actually, the planning commission would get it first, then council. But it’s a long process and we have nothing to do with it at this point. Hal DeSaussure is retiring this November after having served 2 separated stints on Council. He has served roughly 17 out of 21 years (or 16 out of 20). I don’t have the dates, just the years he served and honestly, 16, 17, whatever. It’s a long time. By my guess between meetings, workshops and board meetings, Hal has probably given up almost 1,000 nights of his time in the past couple decades. Its no secret that I don’t think anyone (including me) should serve on council this long. But that doesn’t mean I don’t respect the time he served. That’s a lot of nights/time. Agree or disagree with anyone on council, a few thousand hours needs to be appreciated. Thank you. DORA – Furniture placement and fire-pits to come. Check out the link below and you will see the map.
Short Term Rentals was finally decided. http://hudson.legistar.com/gateway.aspx?M=F&ID=87bcb437-d31f-4f3f-bac6-94e7f6d14e09.pdf
This was a difficult issue and was a split vote. 5 for and 2 against (Hal and Beth). It boils down to business regulations vs resident concerns. I don’t think anyone wants to regulate property rights. And ultimately, I think that is why 2 voted against it. For my own part, I think this is a light regulation. Meaning, its easy to apply, the bar is low, the strength is in the cities ability to pull a permit should something happen. It also puts a box around what is acceptable and unacceptable given the rental size. For instance, a 3 bedroom home can only house 6 + 3 people. 2 per room plus 3 total. Not 400, like was the case last fall. If a house in a neighborhood becomes a business with a financial interest and you live next to it, having 10-15 people outside every weekend with no interest in returning to the community will likely be a constant bother. Having hundreds, on rare occasion, entirely unacceptable. It provides posted notice to neighbors should someone apply for a permit. It excludes legal Bed & Breakfasts from the regulations, as they have their own compliance issues to deal with. Council received a lot of “how dare you consider regulation” to “Hudson should never permit short term rentals of any kind”. We needed some, to protect the community. We didn’t want too much as it could cause harm to people who are good operators and rely on that income. I think we found the balance. I don't fault those who voted against it. It was a tough call on all sides. The Rest: I saw a marketing piece that went out recently that read as though Velocity repaid its debt. Period. Which is untrue, or a slanted truth. I confirmed with Jane Howington, our city Manager, that Velocity does in fact still owe the debt. The General Fund was repaid by bonds that were sold through the Velocity Enterprise fund, meaning we paid off credit card debt with a long term mortgage. Just clearing things up for those who may have been misinformed. I thanked Seton Schools for hosting me this week during Catholic Education Week. The Mayor was to read a proclamation for Catholic Schools Education week but was dealing with his wife’s illness which has complicated both of their lives. Having attended more mass services at St Mary’s than many Catholics, thanks in no small part to Maria Urbanic (Marco Urbanic’ s mother, Marco being one of my oldest friends in life), I felt very at home reading the proclamation at Seton this past week. I had the honor to meet many of the teachers and two School Council members who you will meet in the years to come. February 14th – 20th is Random Acts of Kindness week. A proclamation was read during the council meeting recognizing this important week. Please read the below link to see the theme of each day during the week.
Questions or concerns, let me know -Chris