Mayfair choices

The proposed rezoning on Mayfair received enough (91 versus 83 required) signatures to force a referendum to pass the bylaw, or the bylaw is basically dead. Unless the town doesn’t listen and decides to fund a referendum to test the will of those who signed the register against the desire to build. I see both sides and agree in part with both views.

It’s not my style or taste, frankly I like eclectic diverse villages and am generally an anti-enclave.  I own 18,000 square feet of grass, hedges and trees in the village and frankly it’s a lot of work and cost, so I was never fond of the 30,000 square foot minimum set at that time it was zoned for Alstonvale and Hudson’s Valleys.

Nor am I fond of perpetual binding community development agreements with strict limits to what can be built including surfaces and exterior. That said, both developments are great assets to Hudson and I’m glad they have filled up and added to our population and taxation rolls. Hudson never really welcomed and included that area in our collective thinking to match the value that has been added to our town.

All that said, those current owners who built and bought those beautiful brick and stone homes with uni-stone driveways  have a clear right to protect their investment by resisting change as they see fit. Essentially the current community are able to hoist the developer on his own petard and prevent the changes that could make selling and building that short vacant section of Mayfair easier in today’s marketplace. I do wonder how much the proposed changes could have actually shifted the marketplace or value of the existing homes.

I think on this round one that we’ve missed a good  opportunity for some smaller high end homes with lower operating costs. I’ve lived in a fine old Montreal downtown row house and semi-detached street two blocks from the old Montreal forum. Well built multi-story brick homes with slate roofs, lane for garage and services access. A great place to live, populated by average people through captains of industry  as I might have expected the semi-detached homes on Mayfair would be great places to live.

I’ll anxiously await the decision of the town as well as any revisions they developer might try to make to resurrect this project. Frankly I’d rather see homes than vacant lots, a completed community rather than an unfinished one.

I’ll state clearly that I’m against the cost and divisive process of a referendum. I believe that it’s really all in the hands of the developer now, perhaps he can revise and persuade through something  that will be different enough to be acceptable to the affected community.

I really do hope they try again and eventually succeed, the marketplace and market pricing  for large brick mansions is shrinking as quickly as our town spending is rising and we don’t really need more huge homes.

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13 thoughts on “Mayfair choices

  1. Twice. Twice. This is the second time there has been a registry on this exact subject.

    Everyone has to remember that Rodrigue pays taxes on all undeveloped land. This is why he has brought this subject up twice.

    And he is free a to bring a request for a zoning change to the town as often and as much as he would like.

    Like the first time, it died off. I fully expect this one too as well. I wouldn’t test a referendum in Hudson Valleys or Alstonvale.

    But I fully expect him to bring this subject back to the table if it is killed off by the end of 2018.

    I don’t see why Mayfair residents have to show up to the city council to show their anger. Rodrigues phone number is plastered all around Alstonvale. Give him a call. Let him know your dissatisfaction with the project. He continues to want to move for a zoning change.

    Trust me, if there isn’t a referendum this time, he will be right back at it again after a short period of time.

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  2. What a futile debate!
    If I was mayor, I’d put Daniel Rodrigue’s Mayfairettes to a vote. It’s a nice little project without much downside and I don’t think the whiners have the numbers to kill it. Zoning referendums on residential developments usually are the result of pissed-off voters expressing their dissatisfaction in whatever way they can with incumbent administrations, especially those who have little to show as another municipal election approaches.
    What’s the worst that could happen if Rodrigue’s townhouses are built? Less free parking for Vaudreuil-Dorion dog walkers? Enforcement of the speed limit for Falcon patrons late for their start time? Rodrigue’s a shrewd developer. He knows time is running out on the exurban McMansion market, given the three hours plus a day spent in Montreal traffic to get to and from the downtown job required to finance that lifestyle.
    Mayor Ed and his council have acted like passengers on the Hudson bus for the past 40 months. We’ve seen occasional examples of their attempting to steer as citizens grimly clung to the hope things would smooth out. They have not. Did this council make the slightest effort to tweak the Sandy Beach development to create the illusion the beachgoing public would be getting more than a street-width strip of sand? They had the leverage. Why didn’t they use it?
    We’ve been off travelling in Japan, an amazing nation of obsessive-compulsives whose subservience to the collectivity is repaid with spotless cities, the world’s best public transit and a society where an idiot (me) can forget a shoulder bag on the train and have it returned with the contents intact.
    It was a shock, I tell you, returning home to atrocious roads (were outlaw truckers racing semis on Ridge?) and the gap-toothed Dogpatch on lower Cameron.
    This morning I paid the first instalment of my property taxes and as usual found myself wondering what I get in exchange. Timely snow removal? Efficient public transit? A downtown to be proud of? Well, no. But we’ve got amazing powers of self-delusion. The magic of that makes up for a multitude of failings.

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  3. Jim, I don’t know if you remember what happened in Beaconsfield a few years ago. I think it was the church who wanted to build onto their property to add affordable condos for seniors. This was in an area of mostly single family homes, big lots, etc. maybe Fieldfare? it’s been a long time. Instead of going the petition/register, possible referendum way, they went around and gathered names of residents in the area who were for the project and were able to circumvent the register by getting a majority of voters to sign they were in favour of this project. I don’t know if you remember this? If Rodrigue thinks the majority is in favour could he not do that? What is the majority of residents there in total? Personally I don’t know why I, in Zone 35, and way down on Main road should have a say as to what happens up there? I know zone 35 touches that zone and that’s the law I guess.

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    1. Diane, I lived in Beaurepaire and know the project well because the parents of friends live there. the developer was sensitive to the neighbourhood’s concerns about the impact of infill development and listened to everyone, as you say. From all accounts he’s an unusual manager, going so far as to provide new communal barbecues for the mix of tenants. I believe there are roughly 40 units, some owned while others are rented to a mix of seniors and younger tenants who like the cozy tree-lined neighbourly feel of the area. If the town of Hudson has its wits about it, it will visit the Beaurepaire and similar projects to see what works. Clearly, there’s a rental market. I think we make a huge mistake when we label something a seniors project or assisted living facility. When I was a kid, Hudson was a community of young families who couldn’t affort the West Island. I think that’s where we should be headed.

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      1. As opposed the current path to becoming a community of older people who can’t afford Hudson but still live here.

        It’s been decades that we’ve been out of sync with what young families need to come to a town. Vaudreuil-Dorion, ST. Lazare, Rigaud and other communities have received the bulk of the young families new to our area.

        In spite of ample evidence to the contrary, we remain perpetually great in our own minds and have really grand plans for the future but no workable road between here and there.

        Diverse and eclectic villages build on being different in good ways and renew themselves with the mystery ingredient of community spirit, ours has been broken badly but is not yet lost.

        I do my best to remain optimistic for a return to a bright future, but we’ve got to start just fixing the broken things.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. By the way Jim, those of us who travel a lot and actually step outside Hudson, can only shake our head when we get back. I feel the contract between the town and its citizens has been broken. We’ve paid our taxes even though we felt they were way too high for services received, we’ve volunteered in the community, supported local organizations, in other words been good citizens but town administrations have failed us. I am not pointing any fingers at any specific administrations just Hudson administrations in general. It is such a shame and I really don’t know what it will take to improve things. My husband thinks a merger with another town is the only solution.I think eventually the MRC will be forced to merge towns into a more manageable MRC. I think the VS MRC with 23 municipalities is the biggest in Quebec. Just think 23 mayors going to MRC council meetings, then there is the caucus meetings, then special committee meetings, each one of them paid approximately $200+ to attend. Would there be cost savings there? I’m sure there would be.
    I also agree with you that the presentation of the Sandy Beach/Pine Beach project could have been better handled. All those serious questions of sewage, water, traffic studies, parking, you would think council would have had the answers. Saying we’ll deal with that later is unacceptable. So there, my 2 cents worth!

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  5. Almost a year ago I did a series of posts on merger being almost inevitable.

    It’s virtually impossible to be a well run town of 5000 people, and being a badly run town of 5000 people we’re doomed unless we manage ourselves. Here’s the link:.

    https://thousandlashes.ca/2016/04/11/designed-to-fail-part-one/

    If the link doesn’t work search this blog for “Doomed to fail”

    We did zero significant paving out of annual tax revenues last year while spending $700K on legal and $ 1.5 million on recreation. I’d say we’re spending to party on a sinking ship that’s running out of water and options..

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  6. Here’s the crux of the problem:
    It doesn’t matter what people think because nobody wants a council job.
    Who wants the workload and the grief for the pittance Quebec allows them to be paid?
    Better to pay a decent living wage to everyone on council so that they can afford to devote their time to making the right decisions.

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  7. The worst possible Councillor is the one that does it for the little bit of money. In absence of self-interest in certain areas, there must be a sense of higher calling and desire to give back to the community by doing good while being underpaid. School Commissioners are in the same boat.

    The Quebec system generally limits payment of Mayors and Councillors based on population, I presume to maintain those costs as a relatively narrow range of percentages of town budgets, perhaps there’s some leeway in Hudson’s compensation.

    I don’t think any sitting Mayor and Council should ever vote itself a pay increase effective in their term.

    My very simple solution would be to have them pass any such pay increase changes effective only after the beginning of the next term. Then they aren’t dipping their own hands in our pockets before consulting us, and if they get re-elected the populace has approved, otherwise those elected may thank them or roll payments back.

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    1. I think the bigger issue is the level of commitment required and expected of a small town mayor and councillor. How can somebody have a full-time job and sit on council at the same time? One of the two positions will suffer due to the detriment of the other.

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  8. I was in a zone which allowed me a vote on Mr.Rodrigue’s Mayfair semi-detached’s. I did not avail myself because I did not have a strong opinion either way. What I really hoped was that it was well thought through by our planners, Mayor , and Councillors. My main question would have been : what is the precedent and can we manage its consequences? Mr.Rodrigue has ,by plan or not, been left with some large parcels of vacant lots of which the Mayfair proposal could easily be seen as the least intrusive of these zoning derogation requests. You may have noticed that that circle past the Falcon has very few houses in the inner building area. Is that a possible next step for Mr. Rodrigue’s densification desires? Again I have no problem either way with his strategy should it evolve as such.
    I only want the people who run the Town to have thought of it and included it in its deliberations. Looking behind what is right in front of you is never a bad habit.

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