Vote NO on Issue 11
Too Dense for Hudson
Wrong plan for Hudson
The proposed Phase II development doesn’t align with who we are as a community. The city claims a strong working relationship with the developer, but Joel Testa’s own words don’t synch up with Hudson’s measured approach to development. In a Crain’s Cleveland Business article (July 14, 2018) on the risky business of development, Joel Testa, president of Testa Companies, offered his perspective:
“We’ll overbuild. It’s just what developers do.”
-Joel Testa Crains 7/2018
Too much traffic
The proposed Phase II plan is over double the size of First & Main. When you’re adding roughly 100 residences of mostly apartments/condos, you can expect traffic to increase more than the city’s meager 16% estimate. All the roads in and out of the proposed Phase II are inadequate for the traffic it will produce. Especially the one-lane railroad bridge underpass on Owen Brown, which the city is powerless to alter (source: Downtown Phase II Resource Information – DRAFT 12042018-1). Neighborhoods along Prospect Street should be ready to serve as a primary route for commuters making their way to State Routes 8 and 91. Same goes for our neighbors on Owen Brown Street and all the homes surrounding Atterbury Boulevard, where your peaceful neighborhood and property values are at stake.
Fiscal irresponsibility runs rampant at city hall
The city has failed to secure all the needed land for Phase II, including the property of 40-employee, taxpaying Windstream Communications at 94 Owen Brown Street. City Manager Jane Howington has stated she can’t get Windstream stakeholders on a conference call to negotiate. Meanwhile, the land only gets more expensive as time passes. To quote Howington (Hudson-Hub Times, September 2, 2018): “The only concern I potentially have is that Windstream’s leverage may increase if they see development going around and they know the inevitability of it heading their way.”
This is not a concern to “potentially have”—it is a monumental misstep to surrender the city’s leverage so publicly.
In another expensive lapse of responsibility, council authorized Resolution No. 170178 in November 2017 to purchase the Pasco, Inc., property for $3,500,000, and pay rent of the same property in 2018 and 2019 for $100,000. In the resolution, they claimed to have “evaluated the Pasco Property extensively” for its suitability to house the city’s offices after a retrofit and repurpose that “will not exceed $1,500,000.”
Just 17 months later, council broke their word and voted to double their “not to exceed” retrofit and repurpose spending. Council awarded a $2.96-million contract to former councilman George Roth’s Augere Construction Co., “for improvements of a building at 1140 Terex Road that will become the new city hall headquarters this fall.” (source: Hudson-Hub Times, April 4, 2019).
Where’s the money?
The city only talks in gross revenue and almost never discusses costs or net benefit in an equally understood manner. It will take 40 to 50 years to achieve a return on investment for the proposed Phase II.
Meanwhile, the city is spending massive amounts of our tax dollars to sell a bad Phase II plan—from mass mailings to videos, and city employee time at meetings. The city owes nothing to Testa, yet they are pulling out all the stops to persuade you. Call city hall at (330) 650-1799 for an accounting of their Phase II promotional spending.
The city has expanded its staff and increased payroll by 20% between 2016 and 2018. How much will the city’s costs increase to support the proposed Phase II?
We need a leadership change
Citizens conducted a petition drive last September to refer council’s vote to move forward with Testa’s plan to a public vote—a referendum. The city deemed this effort invalid and instead inserted its own version of the vote, an advisory vote with an all or nothing proposal. Worse, council has not decided what to do with the vote outcome. Despite being stewards of Hudson’s future, they have publicly contemplated—threatened—to sell the property to the highest bidder if the vote is a majority in favor of NO on Issue 11.
The boondoggles are piling up:
Broadband—Costs thus far are $4 million with no terms of recovery. Hudson businesses are not embracing it—according to Hudson Innovates, only 230 of Hudson’s over 900 businesses are customers.
Youth Development Center (YDC)—Cost taxpayers $7 million and currently serves no community benefit.
Failed solar farm at the YDC—The city’s $15.8-million annual power purchase dwarfs the $35,000 to $66,000 projected benefit solar would have provided (source: Hudson-Hub Times, October 26, 2018). How much time was devoted to this bad business plan with terrible financials?
Shaping our future to save our city
Citizens behind Hudson’s Voice, LLC, advocate putting all ideas on the table: rezoning, selling, lower density, pocket neighborhoods, green spaces, or all commercial. Council should further engage citizens through polling and collaborative meetings that narrow the vision for the space down to two or three options. Then bring in the experts to advise the city on a final plan. This is how Hudson has always planned. Unfortunately, the proposed Phase II is a developer’s plan.
Hudson’s future depends on how we shape Phase II—not how fast we move to develop it. Vote NO on Issue 11 to pump the brakes on the current plan and the city’s current choice of developer. We need our council to serve our community as independent voices who value Hudson’s heritage, manage our tax dollars more carefully, and practice collaboration. Please consider:
Joining Hudson’s Voice in the effort to stop the proposed Phase II
Visiting HudsonsVoice.com to request a yard sign, volunteer to distribute literature, or work the polls
Voting NO on Issue 11 on May 7, 2019
Paid for by Hudson’s Voice LLC through generous donations of fellow citizens. To donate, visit HudsonsVoice.com