CHATHAM, NJ - In another meeting that crept past midnight into Friday, the Chatham Township Committee voted to seek a delay in its affordable housing compliance hearing to September, putting a pause on the plan to turn the municipal building into 65 affordable housing units.

Deputy Mayor Mike Kelly announced that Albert Cruz, the township attorney, will be "formally asking the superior court next week, Tuesday, Dec. 17 for an extension to select the best site or sites." 

Cruz will ask that the scheduled May 11 affordable housing compliance hearing be pushed back to Sept. 14.

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Kelly also said that a meeting has been scheduled with the Department of Environmental Protection, where Chatham Township will seek a wetlands transition waiver at the Skatepark site.

"If granted, this waiver will increase the buildable area at the Skatepark site," Kelly said.

In addition, Kelly said that the township has talked to an architect and is determining "cost estimates" on four options:

  • Provide an update on the 2008 report on what it would cost in 2020 dollars to update and repair the municipal building
  • Provide a cost estimate on renovating the existing police department building to bring it up to 2020 department of corrections standards
  • Provide a cost estimate to relocate the police department operations to a renovated municipal building
  • Provide a cost estimate to build a new combined municipal and police building at a location between the current police building and the department of public works 

In addition, the township will be hiring an appraiser to determine the value of a property for sale near the Chatham Township Fire Department headquarters, as well as other potential sites for possible affordable housing construction.

Chatham Township Deputy Mayor Mike Kelly lays out the options being considered in lieu of turning the municipal building over for affordable housing

The Chatham Township Committee originally offered on Thursday night that it would present the updated financial information on the four options laid out by Kelly at its Feb. 13 meeting and then make a decision on designating site or sites for affordable housing on Feb. 27.

But during the public commentary portion of the meeting, residents said that wasn't enough time to make an informed decision, and urged the committee to ask for the extension that included the Sept. 14 compliance hearing date.

Chatham Township resident Robert Nevin said that fears of asking for an extension on affordable housing compliance is a "red herring" (see below).

Chatham Township Committee member Curt Ritter offers June 11 as the date for the financial analysis presentation during commentary by resident Douglas Pitney (see video below).

In other business, the committee adopted an ordinance that agrees to a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (Pilot) for the Arbor Green at Chatham development also known as the 24-unit affordable housing building on Southern Boulevard.

Under the ordinance, the township will receive 6.8 percent of the gross revenues from Arbor Green, estimated at $17,000 per year, with 900 of that total going to Morris County. The PILOT agreement would last for 30 years.

The committee also introduced two other ordinances related to affordable housing, which will be up for adoption at the Chatham Township's Special Meeting that will be held 7:30 Thursday, Dec. 19.

The first ordinance sets a Fairmount Commons Overlay Zone, and the second establishes a Development Fee Ordinance that will be put toward affordable housing costs.