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Council tables rezoning vote until next meeting

By M.A. Ferguson-Rich/ correspondent Published: November 8, 2012

HUDSON: Approval of Collection Auto Group's request to rezone the former Clarke Ford property has been deferred until the Nov. 19 council meeting.

Council President David Basil suggested tabling the vote, which would have rezoned portions of 5715, 5735 and 5751 Darrow Road from outer village residential to outer village commercial.

The suggestion to table was made to allow time for members of City Council, the Collection Auto Group and its adjoining neighbors to review the proposed deed of conservation easement, which reads in part:

 "...Any proposed termination or amendment of this Deed of Conservation Easement and/or the Conservation Easement Area shall not go into effect if the fee title owners of four (4) of the following six (6) parcels that abut the Conservation Easement Area...object in writing to the proposed termination or amendment."

Five adjoining property owners spoke during the public hearing portion of the meeting. All expressed concerns similar to those of resident Hartford M. Harding, a 30-year resident.

Harding wants the conservation easement to be permanent, without the possibility of future owners or future city governments allowing it to be eliminated or altered.

Council member Hal DeSaussure, who is an attorney, explained that an easement is an agreement and by its nature can be changed by the consent of the parties.

Even though the easement could potentially be altered in the future, DeSaussure says that the planned rezoning, with the proposed easement, is actually "better than what you have now."

DeSaussure said that "we don't have the ability to prevent tree removal," for example, under the current zoning that exists on that property. However, this easement requires that the land within it be kept in a natural state. In addition, the easement contains a provision that allows abutting owners to stop any attempt to terminate or change the easement in the future.

Council member J. Daniel Williams agreed and said that this language would give the property owners "exactly what they want."

Under Hudson law, council has 20 days from the date of a public hearing on a rezoning before they are required to act. In this case, they have until Nov. 28.

The vote was unanimous to table the matter until Nov. 19.

Both the council members and property owners who spoke agreed that Collection Auto Group and owner Bernie Moreno have been working with them to find an equitable solution to property owners' concerns.