To the Editor:
At the November 14th meeting we saw what lack of transparency in government
really is. It was revealed for the first time that Chatham Township will relinquish
its municipal building and land to a builder for 60 plus units of affordable housing. Which, mind you, does not fulfill our entire obligation. Furthermore, it was revealed for the first time that a new municipal complex will be built at the police station site, along with refurbishing of the police station itself.
The issue was not noticed to neighbors except through it being added to the
Committee meeting agenda. No other possible sites were given. No public input
as to other ideas as to where to put the housing was asked for. No traffic studies
completed. The list of inconsistencies goes on and on. When asked what the cost of building the new municipal complex would be, Committeeman Mike Kelly, in typical Nancy Pelosi fashion, stated we need to get the land deal done before we can find out what the project will cost.
Along with that ridiculous statement, Mr. Kelly likened the project to a homeowner doing improvements. Well, a homeowner would need to notice all residents by mail with proper notice and the opportunity to object or agree. A homeowner would have a budget and estimates prior to making any decision as to the feasibility of a project. A homeowner would not be able to ram through a massive change to two separate neighborhoods without going through numerous boards, and lengthy public hearings in those boards, etc.. We all know how stringent and restrictive it has been for residents to get approvals on building, rebuilding, or improving ones home.
The Committee knew of this recommendation for months, and chose to keep it
under wraps under the ridiculous premise of the amount of affordable housing
being under pending litigation. It is clear that all this was done in the dark of night
in order to get it done before the neighbors on Meyersville Road, and the
surrounding area, could have a chance to weigh in.
So many unanswered questions, and nothing but secrecy from 4 of our
Committee People, who obviously view themselves as the brightest 4 in the town
on this matter. The only one with sense enough to see the unfairness of all this
was Committeewoman Swartz, who voted no, in a 4 to 1 decision to move
Why save the gym and senior center, as opposed to building it at the new
Southern Boulevard complex? Then you could add the 24 units of affordable housing to the Meyersville Road project. Possible? Who knows, but no answers. Could the need for affordable housing sites have been advertised to property owners with feasibility for solutions? Possible? Who knows. The list of possibilities the public could have offered these 4 bright minds is endless. Is there a reason why this was not put to public referendum on the ballot? Funny how it comes out the first meeting after an election, isn’t it. Given the magnitude and millions of dollars involved, the public should have been deciding, with full disclosure of the issue, on the ballot at election time.
So, as not to go on and on with the hundreds of possibilities unanswered, let’s go with the obvious. Dark of night decisions. Millions of dollars on the table. Pelosi-like politics. This is what we have gotten from 4 of our beloved elected officials.
We can only hope that the incoming Committeewomen Ewald and Fondaco are
watching and listening, and will govern in the light of day rather than the current
dark of night.
Green Village section of Chatham Twp.