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Chatham Resident Convinces Borough Council to Return Traffic Box from "Green to Grey"

Chatham artist Jennifer DuTeil never got to finish this painting of the traffic box at the corner of Watchung and Fairmount because of an objection by a resident Credits: TAP Chatham
Michael Pitonyak said he was never informed of the project even though the electrical box for the traffic light is located on the border of his property Credits: TAP Chatham
Jennifer Kaplan of the Public Arts Council of Chatham Borough goes over some of the research she compiled for the traffic box painting project Credits: TAP Chatham

CHATHAM, NJ - The Borough of Chatham Council reversed course and decided that the electrical box for the traffic light at the corner of Fairmount and Watchung avenues should be returned to its original grey color, after hearing from resident Michael Pitonyak on the subject Monday night.

The Public Arts Council of Chatham Borough project to paint three traffic light electrical boxes from grey to green hit a snag at one intersection when the residents at the corner of Fairmount and Watchung, Mindy and Michael Pitonyak, objected.

Michael Pitonyak brought his case to the council during the public portion of the Borough of Chatham Council regular meeting, and it was agreed that a resolution to return the box to its original grey color would be brought up for a vote at the next meeting. The boxes at the intersections of Washington Avenue and Watchung and Hillside Avenue and Watchung will remain part of the "Grey to Green" project.

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"I'm happy they reconsidered," Pitonyak said. "I didn't know they planned to do it until they started painting it."

Resident Michael Pitonyak gives a rundown of the reasons he objected to the painting of the traffic box in front of his 100-year-old home

Council member Peter Hoffman agreed that Pitonyak had a "legitimate complaint" and said that he drove by the box the other day and had found himself looking at it, which he had never noticed before it was painted. 

Although the Public Arts Council went through all the proper channels and researched whether painting the boxes would be distracting to drivers (All studies said it wouldn't be). Both the public arts council and borough council members acknowledged that it was a mistake not to contact Pitonyak and ask for his opinion about such a project on the border of his property.

The Chatham Borough Arts Council had received permission from the county and the Borough of Chatham Council to paint three traffic light electrical boxes from "Grey to Green."

Jennifer Kaplan, representing the Pubic Arts Council of Chatham Borough, talks about the positive feedback she received from residents about the project

"We respect his opinion," Kaplan said of Pitonyak's objection. "My only concern is the precedent this sets."


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