CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham Township expects more legal hurdles to clear in its affordable housing litigation when it goes before Superior Court Judge Michael C. Gaus for its compliance hearing set for 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17.
Chatham Township Mayor Michael Kelly reported at the regular meeting of the Chatham Township Committee on Thursday night that the amended affordable housing plan before the court will be opposed by "objections" from Kronos Holdings LLC, the owner of the Charlie Brown's property, and the Silverman Group, a private equity and real estate development organization.
The Charlie Brown's property is the third different site the township has targeted for 62 affordable housing units it needs to comply with its litigated agreement with the Fair Share Housing Center. The township received an appraisal of the property of $3,685,000 and plan to purchase the property through negotiation or Eminent Domain.
At the Aug. 27 meeting of the township committee, Kronos Holdings attorney Adam Faiella called the township's plans to acquire the land at 522 Southern Boulevard a "hostile act" and said that the property was under contract to be sold to a third party (logically the Silverman Group).
Previously, the township faced separate civil lawsuits from Chatham residents who opposed designating the municipal building and then the steep slopes of River Road as sites for the same affordable housing units. Now there will be court challenges from Kronos Holdings and the Silverman Group.
"We are moving forward with our established plan," Kelly said. "It is the township committee's intention to pay full market value. I take exception to anyone saying we are taking a property that has a for sale sign in front of it."
Toward that end, the committee unanimously adopted two "companion ordinances" to complete its affordable housing plan. The first was a $4 million bond ordinance to fund the purchase of the land at 522 Southern Boulevard and the second gave the township approval to purchase through negotiation or condemnation the same property.
The committee also passed a resolution accepting a lot of land at 344 Hillside Avenue from Sterling/Sun, which will be used to construct a special needs Group Home as part of the township's affordable housing obligation. In exchange for the land, the committee voted to rezone the land R-3, allowing Sterling/Sun to develop four other lots at the same address.