CHATHAM, NJ - The Chatham Township Committee unanimously tabled the Development Fee Ordinance that was up for adoption and returned an amended version to the Chatham Township Planning Board for review on Thursday night at its regular meeting.

The proposed 1.5 percent development fee on new housing had been deemed "inconsistent" with the township's master plan by the planning board and the Township Committee would have needed to pass a resolution explaining why it was going against the master plan if it adopted the measure.

But during the discussion of the ordinance, committee members decided to amend the ordinance, doing away with the fee for renovation to existing homeowners and asking for clarification on the definition of a "tear down."

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The committee did unanimously adopt an Affordable Housing Ordinance, which sets forth the implementation guidelines for the court agreement it signed Dec. 13, 2018, on its third round obligations.

That court settlement committed Chatham Township to finance any developers' funding shortage for the construction of 74 affordable housing units needed to meet its third round obligation. That cost could be as high as $4 million and is the reason for the introduction of the developer's fee.

The adopted ordinance also designates "sites" to be determined for the construction of the 74 affordable housing units. The committee declined to comment on what sites were being considered.

Chatham Township Attorney Albert Cruz talks about the fee ordinance that will be sent back to the planning board

The Township Committee could incur costs between $100,000 and 312,000 per year in relation to its affordable housing obligations, which includes $29,000 per year to supplement 72 affordable housing units at Vernon Grove.

Chatham Township Deputy Mayor Mike Kelly talks about the tough choices on affordable housing that the committee has been forced to make in the video below.

In researching the developer's fee, Robert Hoffmann, the township administrator, said that since 2007 to the 2019, there had been 60 new homes built in the township; 234 tear-downs and 445 additions.