CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham Township Deputy Mayor Mike Kelly announced that the township is focused on exploring six sites to satisfy its affordable housing obligation on Thursday night during a Special Meeting of the Chatham Township Committee.

The township has narrowed its search out of a need for expediency since it was given a Jan. 10 court deadline to file a formal motion on its request for a compliance extension.

At its Dec. 12 meeting, the committee had voted to seek a court extension in its compliance to a signed December 2018 court settlement with the Fair Share Housing Center that called for 74 affordable housing units to be built.

Sign Up for Chatham Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

The township had reconsidered its decision to turn over the municipal building for the construction of 65 affordable housing units after an outcry from the public about the surprise decision announced in a vote taken at its Nov. 14 meeting.

Albert Cruz, Chatham Township attorney, reported that on Tuesday, Dec. 17, the extension sought was denied during the affordable housing litigation case management conference. The judge ordered that a formal motion be filed by Jan. 10 in support of the request for an extension. The Fair Share Housing Center will make its response or cross-motion on Jan. 24.

The Special Master will present his recommendations to the court on Feb. 12 before Superior Court Judge Michael C. Gaus makes his decision on the motions Feb. 14.

Chatham Township Attorney Albert Cruz gives an update on Affordable Housing Case Management Conference held Tuesday, Dec. 17

Kelly named the municipal building; the skatepark/police department site; a foreclosure property site on River Road; a property in Chatham Glen near the sewer pumping station; the Tanglewood recycling/compost area, and a township lot at the end of Gibbons Lane.

"Those are the six locations that are the active focus of attention as we go forward," Kelly said. "I know everybody would like to have more detail than that, but that's the step in the process where we're at."

Deputy Mayor Mike Kelly details the six sites the township is focusing on in order to meet the Jan. 10 filing deadline

In other business, the committee voted to adopt two ordinances related to affordable housing. The first - a Fairmount Commons Overlay Zone - for possible future affordable housing was adopted, 5-0.

The second ordinance, establishing a Development Fee passed by a 3-2 vote, with committee members Curt Ritter and Karen Swartz voting no. Swartz said her not vote was because it was "inconsistent with our master to assess developers fees on any addition."