Allegations of Conflict of Interest in Seniors' Project
The Hudson Gazette last week published a detailed analysis of the three seniors' housing projects being proposed for Hudson and wondered whether it was quite proper that two of the members of the Town Planning Committee are also members of the consortium proposing to develop seniors' housing off Cote St. Charles. The Gazette complained that they had known about the project last summer but were asked not to publish a story because it might have hurt the project. In fact, some of the principals of the consortium were discussing the project as long as two years ago and that begs the question whether some members sat on the Planning Committee for purposes other than pure civic mindedness.
Now it turns out that there were actually five proposals and that the town has already dismissed one because it didn't seem right for our seniors. Another group thought they had an understanding with the town but now finds that they apparently don't. Instead of seniors deciding which of several alternatives they prefer, the town is going to decide what the seniors here are going to get. Residents can be forgiven if they think there is something wrong with the whole process.
Discrepancies and open questions abound. Why does the town have to get involved in "approving" only one project? Why is the town getting involved in re-zoning? Why do some of the developers need town land - isn't there enough land around Hudson? Why isn't the focus on getting a seniors' residence built where the zoning is already in place - in the Sandy Beach development? The Cote St. Charles group say the Sandy Beach land is too expensive for such a project but they paid quite a lot for their parcel - how much more can the Sandy Beach land cost and how much difference can this extra cost make in the overall budget of such a project? The town seems to want to promote only one project but is the selection process fair and is it being decided in the best interests of Hudson residents. Nobody knows.
Another riddle is why there is suddenly all this interest in building a seniors' residence in Hudson. We've had many, many years of no interest whatsoever and suddenly there's fierce competition. Have people been doing the math and figuring out that there's quite a lot of money to be made? If not, why don't interested parties set up a non-profit group and let it build and run such a residence.
At the moment it seems the only thing that's sure is that a lot of backrooms have been very busy and a lot of discussions have been private when they should have been public. It's a mystery to many residents why people feel they have to do things this way.