To the Editor:

Township taxpayers should be made aware just how poorly Michael Kelly and Tracy Ness, have handled the Fair Housing debacle.

You probably have never been told that ALL the Township has to do is to Zone areas suitable for this use. THE TOWNSHIP DOESN'T HAVE TO OWN THE PROPERTY.  Kelly doesn't want to talk about this let alone discuss his failure to acquire suitable properties!

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Were land available, once the Township acquired it, the Township would be in a position to require specific developmental conditions like architectural design, size and site location of the buildings from any developer who wanted to acquire this property to build Fair Housing units.

Instead of acquiring or zoning suitable areas, Kelly botched the process.  First, with little notice to Township residents or property owners along Meyersville Road, he tried to give away your Town Hall, property worth millions of dollars, in exchange for a developer to build 65-72 Housing units. You would have been stuck with the costs of relocating and building a new Town Hall which Kelly and Ness failed to adequately describe.  

At the same time, Kelly tried to throw our senior citizens out of their facility in the Town Hall.  Athletic groups who use the gym and locker rooms year-round would have lost the use of this gym forever.  I have never been able to determine if Ness or Kelly ever engaged the athletic association in their plans to destroy the gym.

Kelly also proposed that the relocation of the Senior Center might last for two years, but he hadn't the slightest information where it might be located or a plan as to how it might be accomplished.

Due to residents coming out in mass to defeat the plan to tear down Town Hall, Kelly and Ness turned to River Road for the Fair Housing Site, despite the fierce opposition of those many families along River Road who would be affected. In the process, if you can believe it, they proposed condemning an 80-year-old woman's home to acquire enough property where they are proposing to build 40 or more Fair Housing units.

Fair Housing units don't belong on River Road - period!  There are no sidewalks, no sewers, traffic congestion at peak commuting times, no convenient shopping, and the steep slopes could cause potential water runoff and erosion. Imagine the increased number of cars and trucks a development of this size would add to River Road during each day.

Kelly never considered the impact on neighboring homeowners this unacceptable plan would have on single-family homes, but he continues to force this plan despite the damage it would cause.

Any sensible, reasonable person would agree that these units belong near shopping areas and commercial neighbors like the Hickory Tree Shopping Mall, where residents can walk to shopping areas, restaurants and where facilities and amenities exist.

If you find this hard to believe, Kelly dropped the ball when the Township had the opportunity to acquire the Fenske Property adjacent to the King James Nursing center, a 17-plus acre tract - which despite some limiting environmental wetlands restrictions, could accommodate 24 to 36 units - and perhaps more.

The Fenske property had been on the market for approximately one million, four hundred thousand dollars, worth every penny to acquire property which would have gone a long way to satisfying our Fair Housing obligation.  KELLY'S REASONING??? "The property was too expensive", notwithstanding the fact that to bring sewers along River Road to the proposed Fair Housing 4-acre site was estimated at about the same price as acquiring Fenske's 17-acre site!

In my 28 years serving as a volunteer board member on every important Township board, and my 12 years as a Committeeman and as Mayor, I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS FIASCO foisted on residents and taxpayers by uncaring, insensitive, and incompetent elected Town officials.

Republican voters can bring an end to Kelly's ruinous and total lack of leadership by denying him another 3-year term on the Township Committee by voting for Ashley Felice and Mark Hamilton in the upcoming Primary election.

Bailey Brower, Jr.

Lifelong Township resident and past mayor