Phase 2 Research Discussion - April 6th
Tuesday night we had a workshop in addition to a council meeting. The workshop was to discuss initial ideas on research for Hudson, primarily related to Phase 2 usage but (I hope) also incorporating other needs of residents on some level so if we see something, we can delve into it more thoroughly.
On research, this is the First Draft offered for discussion http://hudson.legistar.com/gateway.aspx?M=F&ID=f830d368-e4ba-4cd4-8537-ad09b377d74e.pdf
I am disappointed for a few reasons. There are 8 demographics being asked and 2 value statements, with 1 verbatim.
This statement introduces bias: “Some development projects will result in additional tax revenues to the city while other projects will cost the city money, which would have to be passed on to the taxpayers.”
It presupposes if the project does not bring in revenue, it will somehow cause a tax increase. It ignores the fact that previous city council already assigned so much debt to this project that it could hurt the cities financial position regardless. We are paying $15,000 a month in interest on this debt already. Through a fiscally watchful eye and planning we were able to tackle every project that was significant to the community and bring the balance carryforward from sub-30% to over 40%. But if you read this statement, if you do not vote for tax generating changes, it could result in added costs passed on to taxpayers. I do believe we need people to realize that council spent between $10 and $12 million on this property already. So a ‘do-nothing’ position will factually have a financial impact. We need to dig into how to express this whole cost/benefit in a balanced way.
The one verbatim “Do you have any other ideas, as to what you would like to see built in the downtown area?” is insufficient to provide meaningful analytical data.
I made a number of suggestions in basic survey structure, questions, order.
I reworded the core question in the research so it could be linked to follow-up questions that could provide more detail. What elements should be included in Phase 2?
a. Residential real estate
b. Commercial real estate: office space
c. Commercial real estate: restaurants and bars
d. Commercial real estate: Shops
e. Green space/Parkland
f. Recreation center
g. Government offices
h. Other please specify
Linking questions based on checked items, what percentage of the land should be developed with those specific items (add to 100%). If you checked Business (Restaurants), Office commercial, Residential, and Green space, it would allow you to assign percentages so tolerance levels could be understood for the various aspects.
As a followup, if you check off residential, it would ask what kind of residential development: standalone homes, apartments, townhouses – to better gauge what kind of residential development you might like to see.
I also suggested including questions about why you moved to (or stayed in) Hudson. What quality drew you to, or kept you in, this community. If it was a historic community feel, off the beaten path, that means something. I would like to get to this broader idea of values, but it seems some members are only concerned with what gets built on this land.
This was just the first meeting, thank goodness. I hope version 2.0 is substantially improved.