Council Votes to Keep Riverfront Land, Remove Private Docks by Oct. 1
After months of lobbying from First Street property owners and park land advocates, the council voted to not sell its riverfront property and to order the removal of private docks from city property by Oct. 1.
The City of Hudson Common Council voted 4-0 to not sell riverfront park land, and the council has given First Street residents until Oct. 1 to remove docks they have placed there every spring for several decades.
Randy Morrissette and John Hoggatt recused themselves from the discussion and the vote.
Before discussing the issue, the council heard comments for more than 25 minutes from 10 residents about the potential sale and the potential removal of docks. Six residents spoke against the sale of the land while four spoke for the sale of the land or some agreement that would allow the docks to remain in place.
District 6 Alderman Richard Vanselow said he had received two sets of documents — one from City Attorney Catherine Munkittrick, and one from First Street resident Dean Hanson — and he found Munkittrick's information more credible.
"I'd have to say that based on all the comments I've heard and based on all the information I've read, that it is my position that this is a very important natural resource for the City of Hudson, and all the residents in the City of Hudson to enjoy," Vanselow said.
District 3 Alderwoman Lori Bernard said that if the city is looking to sell land to solve some of its budget shortfall issues, that it should do a citywide inventory of land that could be put up for sale and not make a special case for the riverfront property because of the private docks issue.
District 2 Alderwoman Mary Yacoub and District 4 Alderman Kurt TeWinkel also participated in the discussion before all four members voted to not sell the land.
With the property sale issue decided, the alderpersons directed their attention to the removal of the private docks from the city's shoreline property.
Bernard pointed out that city ordinance directs residents to remove the docks within 10 days, but she recommended a deadline of Oct. 1, which was suggested in a motion from a previous meeting.
Yacoub argued that the residents be allowed to use their docks for the rest of the 2012 boating season, which she said ends when the city requires moored boats be removed from the mooring area along Dike Road.
After discussion, all four voted to require removal by Oct. 1.