OHM Advisors slated to lead city’s comprehensive planning process

by Judy Stringer

Aug. 16 city council meeting

Hudson City Council moved one step closer to hiring a professional consultant to help prepare a 2023 comprehensive plan update with the first reading of a resolution to contract with OHM Advisors.

Community Development Director Greg Hannan said collective scoring from the council’s evaluation of four firms interviewed “showed a clear preference” for OHM Advisors, which is based in Livonia, Mich., and has offices in Cleveland and Akron. Hannan said that if the resolution is passed after a third reading at the Sept. 20 meeting, work on the comprehensive plan could begin in October.

Also, at press time, council was slated to begin interviews with the 41 community members who applied to be on a comprehensive plan steering committee. Hudson’s last comprehensive plan was drafted in 2015, and the city is not required to update it until 2025. Land-use considerations, particularly in the downtown area, are a chief driver of the premature update.

The council’s consent agenda, passed unanimously, included agreements that will nudge several other projects forward, including the installation of adaptive traffic signals within the downtown area and the conversion of a deserted railway between Barlow and Seasons roads into a bike-and-hike path.

Akron Metro RTA, which owns the railway, received a $700,000 federal grant earlier this year to convert 3.3 miles, from Barlow Road in Hudson to Springdale Road in Stow, into a 10-foot multipurpose trail. From there, the path will connect with a 1.5-mile portion extending through Silver Lake, which was funded in 2019. Metro RTA’s vision is to secure additional funding to enable the entire 12.5 miles of railway to be converted, creating a paved trail from Hudson to Akron.

The legislative agenda consisted mostly of first readings, many of them related to formalizing lease agreements with organizations occupying space at city hall. At the Aug. 9 work session, Interim City Manager Thom Sheridan told council that four groups were using office, storage and/or parking space at city hall without proper leases. The proposed agreements include deposits and rent payments “well below” market rates, according to Sheridan.

Western Reserve Band would pay a $200 deposit and $200 annually under its proposed leasing terms for use of a lower-level storage room. Hudson Senior Network Foundation would pay a $50 deposit and $50 annually for storage of a golf cart in a bay and use of a few cabinets in the storage area. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs would pay a $100 security deposit and $100 annually for use of two parking spaces by one of its traveling case managers. The Hudson Ministerial Association, which uses a city hall office for its community resource coordinator, would pay a $200 security deposit and $200 annually.

On second reading was a proposed “standardized template,” Sheridan said, that would be used in drafting future lease agreements, laying out the terms, property use rules and tenant obligations.

During the Aug. 9 work session, council talked at length about the leasing rates and whether offering discounts showed favoritism to those community groups. Council will not vote on the proposed legislation until the third reading. ∞