To the Editor,

Not enough has been said about Chatham Township Committee’s recent Resolution for Planning Board Review of existing limitations on home size in the Township, specifically in our smaller Residential Zones referred to as R-3 and R-4.

Make no mistake, this is an attempt to explore adding additional restrictions to our rights as homeowners to develop our properties under the guise of “protecting our neighborhoods.”

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And it begs the question, Protecting our neighborhoods from whom exactly?  From our neighbors?  From ourselves? 

The building codes in our Township at present contain height limitation and setback requirements which have worked quite well for many years, and we have seen many beautiful, new and updated homes constructed where older homes once stood.  Such new construction has attracted the next generation of younger families to our community and consistently refreshes our inventory of “Ratables” with tax revenues that sustain our municipal services and schools.

Placing additional restriction on both new and longtime Township property owners is a far cry from “protection,” rather it is threat to the rights of the homeowner, impacting young families who might hope to add on to their present homes as well as our more senior residents who hope to sell one day, ultimately to the next generation of Township families.

This would negatively impact nest eggs, retirement strategies and property values across our Township and cause our present taxpayers to foot the bill for the increasing cost of municipal and school district salaries and services.

At the Township Committee’s most recent meeting, this Resolution passed by a 3-2 vote.  The matter of your property’s potential will now be passed along to the Planning Board for an examination of whether your right to develop your own home may be curtailed.  This will be addressing our smaller and occasionally uniquely shaped properties in the R-4 zone particularly, where set-back and height requirements have roundly seemed acceptable apparently until now.

Pay careful attention to this matter, my fellow Township residents.  The building limits that might be changed could be your own.

Respectfully,

Karen M. Swartz
Chatham Township Committee