Should Residents Participate in the Decision Making Process for the PHLC if it's Private Property?

Updated: Aug 28


Browsing through the town’s Facebook pages, one often sees people comment that the proposed Hudson Logistics Center (PHLC) is a private sale and if Hillwood follows all laws and regulations, it’s none of ordinary residents’ business to get involved.




The problem is that Hillwood’s plan may violate several laws. Therefore, it is our business. Caring residents, from abutters to those in neighboring towns, each bring a unique perspective to the many subtleties and impacts of the proposal. Our help in research could push Hillwood for clarity and prevent any issue from being overlooked. We believe that it’s also the reason to have public hearing sessions before any decision is made. We would like to provide you with a few examples of the concerns with what Hillwood has presented.


First, the likely traffic issues.


Hillwood stated that based on the current tenant for the first 15 years for two of the buildings, they will only have 150-200 tractor trailer trucks and 50 box trucks running a day, because their tenant likes to underutilize capacity. This may not sound too bad. However, if you look at the scale of this logistic center, you will see that the design includes 363 loading docks and 842 trailer parking stalls.


A report by the Institution of Transportation Engineers shows that while the number of vehicle trips varies widely for large logistic centers of different business plans, the average daily trips for trucks plus tractor trailers for a logistic center of 2.6 million square feet would be 1700[1]. Even if the number of trucks for the first two buildings is accurate, what about the third? We don’t know yet. Even if the tenant of the first two buildings holds on to their word during the first 15 years, what happens after that? We don’t know either and there is no guarantee how they will use it. If the logistic center does achieve its stated employment goal, there will be another 2500 employee cars coming and going twice a day on their workdays. With the traffic already backed up during commute hours on Lowell Rd between Rena Ave (the intersection that the logistic center plans to use for one of their two entrances) and the turning lanes to Sagamore Bridge, it’s hard to see that just by adding turning lanes onto and off of Sagamore Bridge Rd and adjusting traffic light timing (proposed by Hillwood [2]) will be sufficient handle the increased traffic.


There’s only so much space on the roads. Hillwood also states that they will not have refueling stations on site, so where will all the trucks get refueled? Will the traffic impact go beyond the four intersections they mentioned? If their traffic plan is approved, we need to make sure that the worst case scenario has been looked at, because once it’s built, there’s no turning back.


There are precedents we could learn from, such as a similar development in Milford, MA, where the consistent backed up traffic has caused town residents and town officials alike to regret their decision to approve an Amazon distribution center.[3] It’s very possible that a logistic center of this size just doesn’t fit here in Hudson.


Second, noise pollution.


Hillwood promises that they will have about 230 acres of green space. However, if you look at the map, the green space is the wetland area where they can’t build anything. The result is that there’s only about a 200ft buffer from the neighborhood on the south side. Hillwood’s own sound study shows that this close proximity to a residential neighborhood should cause violations of the town noise ordinance.[4]


To help mitigate the negative impacts on the abutting neighborhood, Hillwood promised a “significant” earth berm on the south side. This sounds like a solution, until you look at their topographical map.[5] For example, the berm at the south side of distribution warehouse B has elevation of 157ft and the building ground has elevation of 144ft; this gives the berm 13ft in height. When the building is supposed to be 50ft tall, how well would this berm work as a barrier for sound and light?


A problem also comes with the berm: stormwater runoff.


According to Hillwood’s Stormwater Management and Erosion Control Plans, the water will exit directly onto abutting Fairway Dr properties. This seems to directly violate the town’s stormwater management regulation requirements.[6] Several of the abutting properties have sump pumps that already work really hard from spring to fall, and we can’t imagine how they can handle a significant amount of extra water once the berm is built. After some of the residents pointed out that the proposed berm is too short, Hillwood admitted that the original design was inadequate and plans to increase the berm height.[7] This sounds like it will only make the water problems worse.  High berm or low berm, the water runoff issue has to be addressed.


A project of this scale deserves enough scrutiny to match its size. There are many additional legitimate questions about impacts on property values[8], air quality, the town’s sewage system, wetlands[9], wildlife, job promises[10], impacts from possible blasting, impacts on the town’s emergency resources, etc. that Hillwood has not answered or have not properly assessed.


We bring up these questions to help make sure every decision is an informed one. Public input is a part of the approval process.  It is our right and responsibility to be involved and speak up. Without us, there are only words from Hillwood. We want balance and accountability.


Would you join us?

References:


[1]Table 5 on page 13, using the number for Transload & Short-Term Storage, which has the lowest number on the table and the most data points. (0.454+0.233)*1000*2.6=1786.2 https://www.ite.org/pub/?id=a3e6679a%2De3a8%2Dbf38%2D7f29%2D2961becdd498

[2]https://www.hudsonlogisticscenter.com/faqs/

[3]https://www.wcvb.com/article/amazon-trucks-creating-traffic-headache-in-milfordmassachusetts-town-officials-say/31008010?fbclid=IwAR0d0rcF8h-_0JPDHGmlcpK1TrBV2F3P8umvcLocisIveWEoBT2z7e1y_eA#

[4]https://www.hudsonnh.gov/sites/default/files/fileattachments/planning_board/page/43881/preliminary20staff20report20-20may2027202020.pdf pp.188-200/200

In Figure 3 (p.198/200):

1) At the residential point C, the noise level is estimated to be 51dB(A) in violation of town code 249-4B which sets a residential nighttime limit of 50dB(A) and likely in of 249-4D which prohibits any source to increase noise by 10dB(A) or more.

2) At point I (behind Sam's club), the noise is estimated to be 67 dB(A) in violation of the business nighttime limit of 55 dB(A) in 249-4B

Don’t forget, this logistic center operates 24/7. Also, please note that the noise estimates were done for select sites at 5 ft above grade. However, for nighttime noise, the noise level should also consider the level at the second floor of the abutting residential area.

[5]https://www.hudsonnh.gov/sites/default/files/fileattachments/planning_board/page/43881/hudson_logistics_center_plan_set_2.pdf, p.66/167

[6]Town code 290-5 (A) (7) and new law 334-37 (A) (2) (e)

[7]https://www.unionleader.com/news/local/hudson-neighborhood-organizes-opposition-to-proposed-logistics-center-at-green-meadow/article_0d88b6bc-5aa9-52c9-b75f-8b835fe13b9c.html

[8]Town code 275-6 (A)

[9]Town code 334-33

[10]https://www.vice.com/amp/en_us/article/g5xvmy/over-100-residents-of-californias-inland-empire-occupy-amazon-developers-offices


Let Your Voice Be Heard!

Please send us your questions, comments, or concerns and we will do our best to share them with the appropriate stakeholders. Together we can save this town, Southern NH, and Northern Massachusetts from this Amazon facility!

Fill out the form or email us at savehudsonnh@gmail.com

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We do not own the rights to the photographs of the site plans and renderings. These pictures have been taken from: https://www.hudsonnh.gov/bc-pb/page/hudson-logistics-center-proposal and https://www.hudsonlogisticscenter.com