CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham Township Mayor Michael Kelly said that the township's affordable housing plans are "very much up in the air," and added that a consensus on "options" will be discussed during a Thursday afternoon executive session.
Kelly made his statements on affordable housing when questioned by TAPinto Chatham at a "Conversation with the Candidate" session held Wednesday morning behind the Fairmount Deli.
The township faces a looming court compliance deadline of its litigated agreement with the Fair Share Housing Center to satisfy the township's third-round element of affordable housing.
Although Kelly didn't reveal any details about "developing information", he made it clear that the township committee was always seeking options, despite the impression that the affordable housing plans were a done deal.
The township committee had faced fierce pushback from the public on its original plan to place affordable housing at the municipal building site and then again when it selected the environmentally sensitive River Road site under consideration now. Residents pointed to properties near the Hickory Tree shopping area as more suited for affordable housing because of its proximity to amenities.
"We'll be discussing options," Kelly said. "There is a misinterpretation on the part of the public that when the township committee has said that any discussions regarding the acquisition of property need to be held in executive session and need to be held confidential, there has been a misunderstanding by the public that that somehow means that the township committee has not been actively considering multiple options during this entire period."
Kelly kept his confidentiality about the options now on the table but stressed the importance of the "consensus" that will be determined in the executive session on Thursday afternoon.
"It's very much up in the air right now," Kelly said. "We're having an executive session on Thursday afternoon, and, depending on the information at that meeting and the consensus of the township committee will determine what direction we go in on Thursday evening.
"Thursday night's meeting is going to be very important for the future of affordable housing in Chatham Township. We will be analyzing developing information at our 4:30 executive session. Depending on the content of that information and the consensus of the five members of the township committee, that will determine what direction we're going to go in and will be announced at the Thursday night meeting."
The Chatham Township Committee is set to vote on five ordinances at its 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 25 virtual meeting that would essentially set up three Group Homes and pave the way for the construction of 62 affordable housing units on Lots 70 and 71 of River Road. SEE AGENDA HERE.