CHATHAM, NJ - The Chatham Township Committee took time to thank its many volunteers and proclaim April as "Volunteer Appreciation Month" during its regular meeting Thursday night.

Mayor Curt Ritter read the proclamation into the record, urging " fellow citizens to take the time to thank our volunteers and recognize them for their dedication and commitment on behalf of Chatham Township."

During the public portion of the meeting, resident Jane Devlin asked for an update on the Affordable Housing issue. Chatham Township is in the process of negotiating its "Third Round Housing Element" obligations and have been discussing the issue in executive session, out of the eye of the public.

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"We're moving forward in negotiations with the Fair Share Housing Center in an attempt to come to a resolution on the issue," Thomas Ciccarone, township administrator, said. "The next judicial action is in May. There is another case conference with the judge. That's really all there is to report."

Committee member Mike Kelly told Devlin that the committee couldn't comment in public on the subject while it was still being negotiated in court. The public will be brought up to date once a legal agreement is approved by the judge.

In November, the township committee had passed two resolutions, the first to authorize a "preliminary investigation for the redevelopment of approximately 3.8 acres of land," which is the area where the Chatham Skate Park is located. 

A second resolution passed the same night referred to a rezoning request for Dixiedale Farm to the planning board. The second resolution involves the sale of 30.33 acres of land, known as Dixiedale Farm, from Betsie Holt Harr to Sterling Properties.

The two-step deal would allow the rezoning so that developer Sterling Properties, in partnership with Sun Homes, to build 54 residential units, including four on the second floor of the existing mansion on the property.

In exchange for the rezoning of the land, Sterling Properties and Sun Homes have offered to "provide the Township with a one-hundred percent affordable housing development on the 3.8 acres" owned by the Chatham Township next to the Chatham Township Police Department on Southern Boulevard.

In other business, the township committee adopted its 2017 municipal budget of $14.9 million, which, it was noted by Ciccarone that the tax rate remained the same in 2017 as it was in 2007.

The committee also unanimously introduced a bond ordinance for $1.5 million, the bulk of which will go toward an accelerated program for Chatham Township road repairs. Ciccarone explained that the ability to get more roads repaired at a lower cost prompted the committee to push up its schedule and include more road repairs for this year. The public hearing on the ordinance will be May 11.