Updated: Jan 3
Written By: Bill Kallgren
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Happy New Year, hopefully 2021 will be an improvement over 2020 which has been difficult in many areas. During the holidays work is a bit slow and I have had a lot of time to spend outdoors enjoying the fresh, and sometimes crisp, fresh air. Being out and about with my dogs allowed an opportunity to enjoy the local trails and natural beauty of Hudson. Earlier in the fall, the dogs and I met a couple of hunters and had a nice trailside chat. This interaction led my mind to wander to the proposed Hudson Logistics Center and in particular the details of the Town zoning codes.
If you are not familiar with the proposed Hudson Logistics Center, in short it is development of the Green Meadow Golf Course into a ~2.5M square foot warehouse center, with principle occupant of Amazon. Hundreds of dock spaces and more hundreds of trailer parking.
And why does this matter? Let us look at the zoning for the Hudson Logistics Center.
Zoning in G-1 Where the Proposal Is Located & Why It Matters
The proposed project is located in Zone G1. Referencing the town code for a definition of zone G1, we find the following:
General-One (G-1). The G-1 District includes all areas not specifically zoned as being within an R-1, R-2, TR, B, or I District located outside the right-of-way of the Circumferential Highway as depicted on the Town Zoning Map. The District is designed to permit a wide diversity of land uses at a density appropriate to the rural nature of the area, the natural constraints of the land, and the lack of infrastructure. Uses permitted in this District are the same as those permitted in the G District.
[Added 3-13-2001 by Amdt. No. 3; amended 3-8-2016 by Amdt. No. 3]
We, as townsfolks, all voted on it.
And why is this a concern? I have three points to make on why this is a concern.
Point #1 – Development of a ~2.5M sq-ft distribution complex hardly, in my opinion, meets the criterial of a use appropriate to the rural nature of the area, the natural constraints of the land or the lack of infrastructure.
Point #2 - Allowing development of this facility in a G1 zone may open the flood gates for further development, potentially not appropriate to “the rural nature of the area” in other lots located within G1 zoning. Time will only tell, but the precedent would have been set.
Point #3 – Need for the proposed Hudson Boulevard.
Further information on the definitions of the zoning can be found at the town website. Here is a map highlighting Zone G1 for the proposed Hudson Logistics Center
The following is a map of the entire zoning, areas in Green are Zone G1 and amount to 7,060 acres or approximately 17.9% of the total area of Hudson.
Additional details on town zoning can be found by clicking here.
And finally, this wraps around to the proposed Hudson Boulevard...
The Hudson Boulevard & It's Implications
In my opinion, the Hudson Logistics center necessitates the need for the Hudson Boulevard, with greater impact on our town residents. Some for the better and some for the worst.
And let us consider the neighborhoods which may be impacted.
Starting at the end of the Sagamore Bridge let us explore the impact areas revealed in the project narrative on the town website:
A grade separated Single Point Urban Intersection (SPUI) will be constructed at NH Route 3A as originally designed and an at-grade intersection will be provided at the east end of the project at NH Route 111. Unlike the originally proposed project, the new roadway will cross four existing local roads, by providing at-grade intersections utilizing traffic signals including: Musquash Road, Bush Hill Road, Speare Road, and Kimball Hill Road. No intersection will be provided at Trigate Road. Instead, the new roadway would be depressed, and a bridge will be constructed to carry Trigate road over Hudson Boulevard.
So what exactly is a Single point Urban Intersection? Great question and I would point you to the wisdom of the web. While the town plans lack specifics, in short, a highway overpass on route 3A is being proposed.
New traffic signals will be installed at the following intersections - Musquash Road, Bush Hill Road, Speare Road, and Kimball Hill Road.
Folks on Trigate Road will not have the benefit of an intersection, instead they will be provided with a bridge over the proposed boulevard.
So how does this tie into the Logistics Center? I am going to be short and brief. A distribution center will ideally be designed as a Hub and Spoke, routes into and out of the center will radiate outward like spokes on a bicycle wheel. Destinations east of Hudson will be best served by establishment of the Hudson Boulevard, connecting the distribution center to Rt. 111 and therefore to Interstate 93 and other points east.
And why do I care? On the plus side, this would certainly change traffic patterns in town. Let us explore the project narrative a bit further.
It is projected that portions of Hudson Boulevard will carry over 20,000 vehicles a day when fully open to traffic and serve over 23,000 vehicles by the 2041 design year.
So you folks living on Musquash Road, Bush Hill Road, Speare Road, Kimball Hill Road and Trigate Road can expect 20,000 vehicles at your local intersection every day. I would include Amazon trucks in those calculations.
Sounds like a good idea, but what does it cost? Great question, the 2019 estimates are around $49,500,000 dollars. The proposal accounts for the following:
The funding for this project will come from two sources. The Town of Hudson is funding approximately $24,500,000, while the remainder of the funding will come from the BUILD grant which is requested at $25,000,000.
So friends and neighbors, $24,500,000 will kindly come from the town and our tax basis.
You can find details on the cost estimates at the following link. https://www.hudsonnh.gov/sites/default/files/fileattachments/engineering/page/2291/hudson_build_conceptual_cost_estimate_worksheet_-2019_update.pdf
And the cost of maintenance?
The Town of Hudson has made the commitment to maintain the new roadway once it is in service and under traffic.
And what strings are attached?
Should the NHDOT ever build the full Circumferential Highway (i.e. both barrels of the grade separated highway) they are committed to taking over the long-term maintenance of the facility. At that point, Hudson Boulevard would be turned over to the State of New Hampshire and become part of the Turnpike system, including the installation of a toll collection system, to pay down the debt service on the additional construction cost for the full buildout of the Circumferential Highway, as well as the future maintenance cost of the overall facility.
And why do I care? I care for the folks that want space to be out and about in nature. Places for people like myself to get out and enjoy “the rural nature of the area,” so defined in our town code. Places for hikers and hunters to enjoy. I care for my neighbors affected by the distribution center, as well as those who will potentially have a highway in their backyards. I care as the town is proposing to fund a significant portion the build, or allow the state to build the bigger “highway” style extension of the Everett Turnpike.