On Saturday, June 13 the Hudson Planning Board, Conservation Commission, Hillwood Representatives and the public gathered at Green Meadow Golf to conduct a site walk.
Members partaking in the site walk were greeted by the birds chirping and the sound of ding ding ding, as crews collected soil samples. At around 9 a.m. Hillwood Representatives and the Hudson Planning Board gave their opening remarks, took formal roll call, and passed out packets filled with maps. Afterwards everyone, about 40 people, hopped into their golf carts and sped over to the first stop.
At the first and second stop, the Hillwood local engineers and representatives from Hillwood explained that the land close to the Merrimack river would be turned into a natural area with a meadow seed mix. To mediate potential hazardous runoff or spillage (should it occur) Hillwood would put in catch basins that would filter out the toxic elements. Additionally, no trees would be taken down along the river during construction. The members then showed the crowd where a potential private boat launch would be. However, after deliberation between Hudson officials and Hillwood's representatives it was unclear whether, if built, it would be for private or public use.
Continuing on to site three, which was at the southwest corner homes on Fairway Dr., orange stakes marked the 200 ft buffer line and the southwest corner of building B. A berm would be created to shield part of the view of the facilities for the neighbors, but at this time it is unclear what that berm will look like. There was debate whether the top of the berm would be a meadow seed mix, trees, or highway sound barriers. Hillwood representatives stated that the berm design has actually not yet been decided, even though they had previously shown a berm with trees and natural grasses. Many questions were asked by planning board members at this location, which included berm design, proximity to residential buildings, and hazardous run-off mitigation.
At stop four, the group gathered at the Muldoon Dr. extension between building B & C. Again questions about proximity to residences were asked, as well as how Hillwood would mitigate sound during construction and while the facility was functioning 24/7. Hillwood indicated that its sound study is currently being revised and they will provide more clarity once it has been updated. Just up the cart path, stop five looked at Limit Brook. Here one of the members of the group asked whether trees along the residents' property line would be cut down during construction, to which Hillwood answer no. All trees along the property tree-lines would be kept. Again there were questions about run-off into Limit Brook, what the buffer impact would be to the wetlands, and clarity of the buffer height at its end.
At the final stop on the Green Meadow tour, before members continued on to tour the residential area that abuts the property, attendees viewed the Cul-de-sac area marked by white stakes. This area is classified as a wetland area. As discussed the soil is capable of growing wetland plants and this area was a wetland prior to the Golf Course, but it has since turned into a grassy area. Board members then asked about whether the town's resources, such as water and sewage, could handle a proposed project of that size, especially with current water bans.
Overall, the site walk brought the project to life and participants could get a better feel for the magnitude of the proposed project. However, many questions were left unanswered and many elements of their project still need clarification.
If you haven't yet seen them, here are the site plans for the proposed logistics center.