Letter to the Editor RTSA

The Hudson Plan Commission and Common Council are considering rezoning and conditional use permit applications for the former Norlake building on Second Street. Operation HELP and Hudson Area Backpack and Food Programs are planning to purchase the building to create a new home for both organizations with additional shared space for other local nonprofits.

The project has attracted support from volunteers, donors, faith communities, residents and others.

More than $2.4 million is already committed for the building purchase and modifications. The site is ideal for many reasons including size and features, access for clients and volunteers and a location truly within the community rather than being apart from.

The project has undergone more than two years of planning, multiple neighborhood meetings, and months of working with city staff. We’ve heard questions and concerns about the project and have responded. 

  • The property needs rezoning but requires no variances.

  • The space will allow the Backpack Program to discontinue its high-intensity, time-limited, drive-through food distribution in favor of orderly, scheduled indoor pick-ups spread throughout a regular business week.

  • Projected use of the property translates to about 25 people in the building at any one time. About 70 employees worked there previously.

  • The parking lot capacity exceeds code requirements for all anticipated activities of building tenants.

  • Removing existing public entrances and loading dock on Elm Street increases safety by reducing activity on the steep grade.

  • The property will be eligible to apply for nonprofit property tax exemption. It has historically generated less than $20,000 in taxes annually with less than a quarter allocated to Hudson. In comparison, Operation HELP puts approximately $150,000 cash into Hudson each year in payments to landlords, utilities, mechanics, gas stations, motels, farmers’ markets, and others. Hudson Backpack Program collects, purchases and distributes hundreds of thousands of dollar’s worth of food each year for Hudson residents.

On June 6 and 19, the Plan Commission and Common Council respectively will consider rezoning and conditional use permits for the project. We’re confident that the applications will receive fair, objective, fact-based consideration. More information is available through our websites and social media pages.

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