Parking availability downtown was once again a central concern as the Hudson Plan Commission recommended approval of a conditional use permit and final plans for construction of a new office building on Second Street on Tuesday, April 24.
The new building at 708 Second St. would consolidate the operations of Ciranda, a fair-trade and sustainable ingredient supplier that already owns two buildings on Third and Vine streets that house about 20 employees each. Employees from the existing Third Street building will move to 708. Owner Hans Friese said they haven't decided what will happen to that empty building.
The property was rezoned to B-4 central business district in the fall of 2017, a new district created after a request by Freise Properties.
Two levels of office space are proposed for the new building, with an underground parking space with eight spots. An additional five parking spots will be at the back of the building. The two office floors will be about 3,700 square feet, with the parking garage larger at about 4,200 square feet.
With the garage and outside lots, employees will still be using street parking as well.
The availability of parking is one of the big concerns for approval of the building, Community Development Director Mike Johnson said. A previous conditional use permit for the Third Street building limited parking to just in front of the business, which Johnson said should be maintained.
Commission member Fred Yoerg said when he drove by, the area had more than 20 cars along the street and alley area and up property lines. Friese said people from other businesses park in front of the Third Street building.
If the business continues to grow, Johnson said he's not sure where the cars would go. Yoerg expressed concern that the newly vacated building could be later filled with even more new employees.
The issue of parking is not new for downtown Hudson, and Council Member Randy Morrissette said the city is trying to alleviate some of the issue. Johnson recommended the city review the building's parking again in a year after the city has implemented parking updates like pay stations.
"This is going to have to be looked at constantly," Yoerg said.
Johnson said the conditional use permit would not allow company traffic to use the alley north of the property, as that area is more residential. Yoerg questioned how that would be controlled. Morrissette said neighbors would likely notify the city if it became a problem.
Friese said the traffic from the business is just employees in the morning and evening, not coming and going all day.
"We are a very lowkey, very respectful group of people," he said.
Architect Dennis Kroll said the design emphasizes sustainability. Rain gardens and permeable pavers will also be used to catch stormwater.
Neighboring business owners Mike Lesher and Art Doyle expressed concern and wanted to learn more about the project, especially the engineering plans for the retaining wall that lines up with Lesher's property on the corner of Second and Vine streets. Johnson said Short Elliott Hendrickson reported more detail is required about the wall, and that the property owner will need to communicate with the neighbors on it. Kroll said he plans to do just that, and work with a structural engineer.
"We're very concerned about this too," he said.
Final approval of the conditional use permit and plans will go to the common council.