Hudson -- Despite objections by the city's tree commission, the planning commission approved a plan March 11 to clear approximately 20 plus acres of a 32.9 acre parcel in Hudson Crossing Business Park.
Developed by Premier Development Partners, the industrial subdivision is located in western Hudson's district 6 and bounded by state routes 303 and 8.
Premier's representative Jerry Gruszenski, who appeared before the planning commission, said clearing the land would make the business park property more marketable and visually appealing to prospective tenants.
"We are pushing to clear this land," Gruszenski said.
But tree commission co-chair Jerry Unroe spoke against the preemptive clear cutting, calling it a "very poor idea at this time."
Unroe raised concerns about endangering the city's water supply and increasing flooding in the area.
"The current trees and vegetation are not undesirable but provide important root and leaf growth to slow water runoff and also to provide clean oxygen from the exhaust of the 40,000 vehicles that use Route 8 daily," Unroe said.
The tree commission's concerns were supported by an email from city arborist Tom Munn, who objected to preemptive clear cutting with no building and no development planned.
"I believe the additional storm water and sediment loading of Brandywine Creek would be excessive," Munn wrote. "I am in favor of developing the Hudson Crossings Industrial Park. I am not in favor of a blank slate development where no building or landscape plan is even being considered, and the watershed is at risk for unnecessary pollution."
Gruszenski told the commission the property would be easier to sell if potential clients would be able to see where their business would be located.
"We would have much more visual impact," Gruszenski said.
Economic development director Chuck Wiedie told the planning commission that he was encouraging the clear cutting of the property.
"We've seen a lot more activity in that park," Wiedie said. "The point being missed is that the developer is entertaining requests for that development."
Planning commission member Rob Kagler asked Mark Richardson, Community Development Director, if preemptive clear cutting was not allowed.
"It is with your approval," Richardson said.
Jennifer Barone, vice-chairperson of the planning commission, said the commission had to balance economic development with environmental concerns. She asked for assurances that any stumps from the tree clearing would be removed.
"All stumps will be grounded and the area regraded," Gruszenski said.
The request to clear the land was approved by the planning commission members present. Absent from the meeting were Carol Gasper and Michael Dostal.