by Judy Stringer
July 18 city council meeting
In a 5-2 vote, Hudson City Council passed legislation that will require developers to give the city first right of refusal on waterlines needed for new subdivisions. The legislation allows council the discretion to grant a waiver to use another utility in cases where the city water is more than a half-mile – 2,640 feet – away from the development’s boundaries.
“This does not apply to somebody who wants to just go build one house on a piece of land that they own,” explained council member Skylar Sutton. “What this applies to is people who want to take large parcels, cut them into many lots and then sell that as a development. That’s where this portion [comes in].”
Sutton and other council members said that their intention with the new regulation is to prevent Akron City Water from widening its foothold in Hudson.
“This is to allow Hudson to be brought to the table to discuss water expansion rather than allowing a developer to just hand the water expansion over to Akron, which has acted as a somewhat more predatory partner in not responding to city of Hudson requests, and in requesting 40% of our income taxes in order to expand the water within the city of Hudson,” said President Chris Foster.
When Akron City Water raises water rates for Hudson homes and businesses in its network, Foster added, “There’s nothing we can do about it.”
Council members Nicole Kowalski and Kate Schlademan voted against the regulation. Schlademan expressed concern that the ordinance will be burdensome to some property owners and that council should take more time in examining resident concerns.
Resident George Vizmeg, who owns land on the east side of Hudson, addressed the council during public comment periods on July 11 and July 18, saying most recently that the legislation “will further kill development.”
In another 5-2 decision – split along the same lines – council voted in favor of an updated fee schedule for special events. Under the new schedule, events like the Hudson Farmers Market and Summer Music Night Concert Series will continue to pay a $25 application fee annually and will pay additional daily fees for water and electricity. In addition, a $215 fee will apply to any road closure outside of the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area district.
Under a 2016 fee schedule, electricity and water fees were based on the number of “hookups,” not days of use, and events in place before 2016 were exempt from the utility and road closure fees altogether.
Council unanimously approved the $1.9-million purchase of two parcels on Hudson Drive, which will be the site of a public works and Hudson Public Power building. Foster said that he understands neighboring residents are concerned but believes having city control over development will allow for better setbacks and other buffers than a private developer might have included. ∞