Phase II Update
I've been asked and seen several requests for an update on the status of Phase II for the downtown Hudson area. I have included the initial concept used in the community outreach sessions and the image from a subsequent proposal for the layout.
A little history to create a common understanding. The previous council passed the legislation to sell the phase 2 property to Fairmount. The legislation was passed controversially and was amended by the current council making the sale contingent on a review by first the planning commission and the city council. The current council also removed the portion of the legislation to reimburse the developer's costs prior to an agreement or detailed plan.
Fairmount, the developer, presented a concept to the residents in 2021. There was broader support in the community than previously seen for the concept that was presented and subsequently Fairmount engaged a builder to design the details of the development.
Here is an image of the concept that was presented to the community in 2021:
During our annual city council retreat in February 2022, city staff shared an early iteration of the detailed design and their concerns about that initial rendition. I would describe these up front alignment concerns as a normal part of establishing the detailed design. Council also shared concerns with staff about this iteration. It was agreed that staff would communicate the desire to return to a version that better represented the concept presented to the public. Otherwise we might need to restart community engagement to ensure there was still broad support for the plan.
Here is an image of the retreat iteration presented in Feb 2022:
The differences we discussed the most were housing stretching onto the south side of Owen Brown because of the exchange of the cluster homes for single family homes on the north side of the development. Density, greenspace and architectural appeal were all important elements communicated by residents, and while some variation is likely to occur form the original concept, these are attributes that the city is looking for in the final detailed proposal. The original concept had a more appealing layout with visual break up rather than a series of row homes that appear more built for efficiency.
Seven out of seven council members believed that the changes departed too far from the original proposal made to the public. While the original layout was a "concept," broad feedback I received was aligned with that concept but would not support the subsequent proposal. I want to emphasize that I am not concerned by the deviation because going from a concept to a detailed design is a part of the planning process. This is why I spoke strongly against the developer being guaranteed development costs, before there was an agreed detailed design.
I am confident that, as the initial proposal, there are many opinions on the follow up proposal. As a council we are working towards keeping the detailed plan aligned with the concept that Hudson residents supported. From my perspective it is very normal to have some back and forth while detailing out the design.
For an additional perspective you can see Skylar Sutton summary in the following link.