CHATHAM, NJ - It's becoming increasingly likely that Chatham Township will acquire the property at 522 Southern Blvd., also known as the Charlie Brown's property, through Eminent Domain.

Hours before the Chatham Township Committee met Thursday night to adopt its affordable housing plan that includes the construction of 62 rental units at 522 Southern Blvd., the owners of the property, Kronos Holdings LLC, issued a lawsuit to block the township's acquisition of the property.

The acquisition of the 3.3-acre property is the final piece Chatham Township needs to satisfy its litigated agreement with the Fair Share Housing Center and complete its third-round affordable housing obligation. In August, Appraisal Consultants calculated that the fair market value of the Charlie Brown's property is $3,685,000. 

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Chatham Township Mayor Michael Kelly said that Kronos Holdings has refused to negotiate the sale of the property, claiming that the Silverman Group already was under contract to purchase the property. The Silverman Group also has contracted to purchase the Noe Pond Club property at 395 Southern Blvd.

Mayor Kelly said he has asked the Silverman Group on more than one occasion to attend a Chatham Township Committee meeting to inform the committee of its plans for the Noe Pond Club site.

Mayor Kelly said that Kronos Holdings has refused to schedule negotiations

The overwhelming majority of the 31 Chatham Township residents who spoke up during public commentary on the virtual Zoom meeting backed the committee's plans to acquire the Charlie Brown's property, even if by Eminent Domain. Many cited the possible loss of immunity against "builders remedy lawsuits" if the affordable housing issue is not resolved.

The majority of the public also expressed concern about the looming development of the Noe Pond Club by the Silverman Group.

Chatham Township is eyeing the Dec. 14 final compliance hearing before Superior Court Judge Michael C. Gaus and the acquisition of the Charlie Brown's property is essential to that end.

The Township Committee passed two affordable housing measures on Thursday. The first was a resolution on the "reasons" the Chatham Township Planning Board recommended passage of the plan even though it found it "inconsistent" with the town's master plan. Kelly explains the resolution in the video below.

Mayor Kelly continued to make the case that Chatham Township's affordable housing plan is the right one, comparing it to the litigation Englewood Cliffs lost in its battle with the Fair Share Housing Center (see video below). He also said that Chatham Township is getting ready to pick one of four vetted developers for the affordable housing project during its executive session on Tuesday.

Mayor Kelly summarized how Chatham Township is meeting its third-round obligation of affordable housing in the video below before voting on the plans on Thursday night.