Fechtner's Consider Legal Appeal: Say Minutes Were Withheld Until After Public Hearing

Dear Editor,

Note: The following letter was received after the Chatham Township Committee voted 3-1 to adopt an ordinance which vacated a "walkway easement" from Linden Lane to Pine Street. Lawrence and Sarah Fechtner had challenged the legality of the ordinance.

It was disappointing that neither we nor our attorney could speak during this meeting in response to Mr Woodward.  We were planning to make it known to the public that  the February 20, 1956 minutes from the Chatham Township Planning Board requested by OPRA request were held back from us until Friday morning, April 11.  This was the morning after the public hearing was closed. This prevented us from publicly presenting these crucial withheld minutes regarding approval of the subdivision read:

"Mr. Pfeiffer reported that Mr. Bailey Brower, Jr. had given his ASSURANCE that the owners of the property would cooperate with respect to giving of easements for use of schoolchildren to cross from Linden Lane to Pine Street". 

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Our attorney strenuously disagrees with Mr. Woodward that a footpath is a public place. It only makes sense in the statute that a "public place" must be similar to a "public square", perhaps a park or beach where the public can gather, not a footpath, or means of travel.  Also it is a easement given for public use and does not require the township to dedicate or accept it.

We also maintain the recused Mr Brower's participation in the public hearing as a strenuous advocate, not only for himself, but as a spokesman for the residents of Linden Lane, poisoned the proceeding, and violated the township's own rules on recusal.

We also collected over one hundred petitions from the public who wished to protect their easement that we were unable to present.

We only agree with Mr Woodward that it is not trespassing to walk on Linden Lane despite the Linden Lane Association's new unfriendly and forbidding signs.

We have been informed we have 45 days to appeal the ordinance.

Lawrence and Sarah Fechtner.


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