HUDSON — Downtown Phase II will be on City Council’s docket in the upcoming week.
Council will host a public hearing on the preliminary plan for Downtown Phase II at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Town Hall, 27 E. Main St.
At that same meeting, Council will have a motion in front of it to approve the plan, according to Jody Roberts, the city’s communications manager.
Roberts explained the motion is “all that is needed to approve the plan. There will be no legislation involved in the approval.”
The planning commission on July 23 recommended approval of Testa Companies’ preliminary plan for the project. The development will include 63 town homes, 80 multi-family homes and nearly 138,000 square feet of office space, along with a 300-space parking garage at the corner of Owen Brown Street and Morse Road.
The commission hosted three public hearings and heard concerns from residents about traffic volume, density, stormwater management and preserving the city’s historic character.
In response, Joel Testa, president of Testa Companies, on July 9 presented a scaled-back version of the project. The number of square feet planned in the development declined from 1.1 million one year ago to less than half that at 419,000 square feet.
Council President Bill Wooldredge (At Large) noted the density of the development has been reduced, Owen Brown Street has been reconfigured, and changes have been made to the location of the residential units.
“I think we’ve done an awful lot of listening and a lot of talking to people and making accommodations, and in a very major way, changed the project,” said Wooldredge. “I think, at this point, it’s a lot more — I can sense in talking to an awful lot of people and hearing from a lot of people — what they want.”
He added he believes the project is “much, much better than it was, originally.” Wooldredge said he felt the project was initially too dense.
Meanwhile, Councilman Alex Kelemen said the office space is intended to generate income tax money to pay for the city’s initial investment in the project. He noted he does not favor any changes that move toward a “residential intense project” because it would be a “drain on all city taxpayers.” Kelemen said the developer has reduced the amount of office space on the south side of the project and replaced it with multi-family housing.
“The city still has to pay to build a parking garage which would now go to serving some housing space instead of income producing space,” said Kelemen.
Part of the plan includes measures designed to prevent Owen Brown Street from being used as a cut-through, but Kelemen said he would like to see traffic diversion “closer to the eastern Owen Brown block that it is intended to protect.”
If Council approves the preliminary plan, Testa must then submit a final plan for approval by the Planning Commission, City Council and the Architectural and Historic Board of Review.
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.