• cfoster@cfoster.com

January 12th Workshop

Councilman Sutton was up late last night apparently. Nice write-up of the workshop. I will fill in the gaps where he mentions he can't read his notes. - See my notes at the bottom. From Councilman Skylar Sutton Notes from the 2020.01.12 workshop Council Comments: - Sutton: Resident concerned about crossing safety at Hudson-Aurora/Stow Road crossing, turning vehicles do not have arrow and is focused on traffic, misses pedestrians crossing the street. Asking staff to include this in future safety meetings (probably missed the cutoff for the January meeting). - Foster: [I'm sorry Chris... I can't read my own handwriting, I will update this post tomorrow after I watch the video. I *THINK* it says "No planning commission meeting, and pedestrian safety concerns"]. - Wooldredge: Disappointed in partisan politics at the local level. Claims to have no involvement in the political lobby "Hudson Forward Together". Discussion Items: Small Business Relief: - City will work with Chamber of Commerce or Merchants of Hudson to help them put together a "marketing" plan, and maybe a social media account, to promote business hours and specials. City will help them get it off the ground but will leave day-to-day operation to those groups. This is an effort to boost businesses all over the city, not just downtown. - Firepit will be added to corner near Marinos. Flame contained in a cage for safety, and push button started by any resident. Cost will be $12k. Will start with one pit to see if it is popular and may consider additional. - Picnic tables will be moved back to parks, but new tables will be ordered since they were popular. New ones will be metal and fit with the décor better: 8 tops, 4 tops, and a few "pub tables". - Restrooms are still being investigated. Might consider temporary restroom trailer (they are really nice, I have used them before). Finding a location is challenging because the property that is city owned is pretty far removed from the activity. Best location may be near the entrance to the parking deck. - Lights and music will be left up to First & Main to decide, city will not proceed on that front. - I suggested having more "festivals" like a car show to bring foot traffic in this spring and summer. Greens are under utilized. - WiFi on the greens was estimated at $80k-$90k. Chamber is unsure if it would have much impact on bringing people downtown. Not saying it's a bad idea, but in the context of boosting downtown dollars might be better spent elsewhere. Consent Agenda: - TMP-5276: December Financial Report: Why is the EMS metric in the red? VBB appears to be falling behind the business plan month over month. What is the plan to fix that and how does it impact ability to repay loans? - TMP-5239: Authorize bids for storm sewer lining project. - TMP-5147: Annual update to published ordinances. - TMP-5268: Authorize the purchase of a new Gradeall. The previous unit was destroyed when it hit a railroad bridge while being transported. Original cost (2014) was $263,256.00, insurance settlement was for $233,167.67, new unit with the same features now costs $322,632.00 in 2021. We are pursuing reimbursement for the difference, but we will most likely have to "eat" the $90k difference. That said, we are actually are coming out "ahead" on this because it means we only paid $40k for the six years that we used the previous one. Legislation: - 20-145: Short Term Rental Moratorium - No discussion, efforts have been on the sister item 20-160 - 20-160: Short Term Rental Licensing and Operation - Lengthy discussion about the pros and cons of zoning controls vs. business licenses vs. hybrid. Ultimately we landed on, let's push forward with a "business license" and add in mandatory public hearings. This will allow us to get something in place the fastest. We can then follow up with the zoning aspect if we want. License will be one year, so we can annually evaluate if there are any complaints. Penalty for operating without a license will be increased. Some discussion of adding an "incidental use" exception for 14 days or less (30 days or less?). - 20-167: Request to rezone a parcel on Hudson Drive and modify the Senior Housing Overlay definition. Under advisement from legal council, we had no discussion on this item. - 20-168: Renewal of the DORA with the addition of weekend brunch hours. Additional Notes: Planning Commission did not meet this past Monday. It is meeting January 25th because of scheduling problems. There is an application staff would like to squeeze in but it will not be ready until the 25th. It is not yet on my agenda so I'm in the dark as to the details at this moment. I have been contacted by a number of residents regarding pedestrian safety and asked if Staff could formally engage in some manner with an ad-hoc committee or a public hearing specifically to address downtown traffic issues with details and 2-way dialogue. Council has this on the agenda for January 26th. Those interested should plan on watching that workshop. But additionally Thom Sheridan, our assistant city manager, said they could establish meetings or a forum to engage with residents and would make plans to that effect. I found out we lost another business yesterday, the Malted Meeple. We talked about how to help downtown businesses at the council workshop. We have often. And we have done some things that did directly help them... but more than anything, they need our patronage. Not just restaurants but all of these businesses that make Hudson unique, our home. I understand some people have true fears about going out and I cannot allay your concern. I can say that the businesses in Hudson have all done an outstanding job of following protocol. My family does take-out often, and eats in as often as possible. My wife and kids shopped in Hudson locally for the holidays as much as humanly possible. If we don't do this our downtown recovery will take longer than any of us want. Please consider shopping locally as much as you can and eating locally, be that in our out. Lastly along these lines we talked about enabling promotion of Hudson businesses through several channels. We did not come up with anything concrete but I would say keep an eye on Hudson's City page and the Chamber of Commerce for promotion of our businesses around town. It sounds like something is in the works. Questions or concerns, please let me know. -Chris

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