CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham Borough resident Michael Dean will be armed with his tax bill when he comes before the Borough of Chatham Council at its regular meeting on Monday to discuss parking at the Chatham Train Station.
Dean has been making posters urging borough residents to attend the Monday meeting after inadvertently learning that there was no agreement with NJ Transit to make half of the 412 parking spaces available on a first-come, first-serve basis to anyone.
The subject came up at the Nov. 16 planning board meeting, where Mayor Bruce Harris answered that there was no agreement with NJ Transit to set aside half the spaces for daily commuters from the area to use.
This past week, borough administrator Robert Falzarano and Robin Kline, the borough clerk, did a search for the agreement and found a document.
"After the Planning Board meeting, and in spite of NJ Transit's telling Bob Falzarano in 2011 that there was no agreement regarding parking, Bob started another search of the Borough files," Harris said. "He found a memo from former Council Member and Mayor Richard Plambeck written in 2001 that referenced an agreement with NJ Transit that was executed in 1996.
"With that timeframe, he was able to give Robin Kline, our clerk, some "search parameters" and she did find an agreement dated July 1996 pursuant to which NJ Transit gave the Borough $500,000 to re-do the parking lot and the Borough was obligated to maintain 50 percent as non-discriminatory (available to "commuters, resident or non resident")."
Dean's contention is that there are 151 residents from the borough on a three-year waiting list to obtain a yearly parking permit at the train station, and that they should be given priority over commuters who do not pay borough taxes.
Here is what Dean has answered to out-of-town commuters who object to his stance:
"Florham Park: We will park borough residents with you, as we jointly wait together for the light to change on Main Street.
The Township of Chatham: We will park ourselves with you as we jointly visit the library, attend the public school, play on each others artificial turf.
Madison: The Borough of Chatham has decided to join our sewage with your sewage at the joint sewage plant.
All must know that our joint called Chatham Borough does not wish to jointly share the Chatham Borough train station with your joint Madison, your joint Chatham Township and your joint Florham Park. Y'all must be smoking too many joints to think that your interests will come before the interests of Chatham Borough residents."
Michael Dean believes Chatham Borough taxpayers should have priority for permit parking at the Chatham Train Station