The first person to comment was Sarah Dibben, who expressed concern that "Hudson has closed itself off from partners who could help make it a park." She was referring to the condition of the transfer that required the City would not lease or sell the property to a not-for-profit for fifty years. She made the point that, when the terms of the transfer agreement were up, she would be 80 years old.
Cheryl Stuart, saying that she represented the Concerned Residents of Hudson, read a prepared statement which concluded by calling on the Common Council to rescind the resolution passed at the special meeting on February 11 and redraft it "before any further actions are taken by you the Planning Commission." Stuart called the information provided by the Common Council "erroneous and misleading." The basis for this allegation was that the parcel in question is actually two parcels: the area being transferred increased from seven acres to something more than nine acres by the addition of land that was once a Standard Oil distribution facility. She said the additional parcel "is most likely contaminated and was not included in the BOA [Brownfield Opportunity Area] application to New York State."
Stuart's objections were then taken up by Timothy O'Connor, who pointed out that only the seven-acre parcel was mentioned in the LWRP (Local Waterfront Revitalization Program) and the additional 2.4-acre parcel was never discussed in the GEIS (Generic Environmental Impact Statement). He explained that at one time Standard Oil had a wharf, a distribution depot, and oil tanks on the 2.4-acre parcel. He maintained that, since the 2.4 acres had never been mentioned in the LWRP, the statement in the resolution that the transfer "comports with the City's Local Waterfront Revitalization Program" is false. O'Connor advised Tillson that the Common Council was putting the Planning Commission in a litigious position.
Linda Mussmann, who chaired the Waterfront Advisory Steering Committee in 2006 and 2007, declared her support for the action, saying that it is "part of the LWRP and "key and crucial to completing the LWRP."
More than once during the hearing, Tillson explained that the only information the Planning Commission had about the transfer came from the Common Council, which raises the question of why Cheryl Roberts, who is counsel to the Planning Commission as well as the city attorney and was there at the beginning of the meeting, left the room--with no explanation--when Stuart started to speak. Was it because she had negotiated the land transfer with Holcim and for that reason had to recuse herself? Or was there some other reason?
Tillson ended the public hearing with the statement, "We don't have enough information yet to move ahead." A short time later he was observed heading up the stairs in City Hall, possibly to meet with the mayor and the city attorney.