CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham Township received approval from Superior Court Judge Michael Gaus on Friday to proceed with its extended timeline to meet its third-round obligation of affordable housing.
Chatham Township Mayor Michael Kelly confirmed the ruling at his Saturday "Coffee and Conversation" with the mayor held at the Fairmount Country Store.
"They ordered our attorney and the Fair Share Housing lawyer to dismiss all the lawsuits," Kelly said. "The court accepted the agreement and extended our (compliance hearing) timeline to the end of June as we requested."
That means the previously "frozen" Dixiedale development of 53 luxury townhomes and the linked 24 Arbor Green affordable housing units at the Skate Park site on Southern Boulevard can move forward.
The plan for the final 74 affordable housing units agreed to in the settlement between Chatham Township and the Fair Share Housing Center now includes the 62 units on the approximately 10-acre, two-lot site on River Road.
Chatham Township residents of River Road have vowed to wage a legal battle against building 62 units on the steep slopes. One resident, Carmela Sagendorf, a 60-year resident, has obtained legal representation.
Kelly said that Albert Cruz, township attorney, asked for the tweaked wording offered by former mayor Nicole Hagman that would give Chatham Township some flexibility to switch sites under the same timeline.
"We made that request that Nicole (Hagman) had asked for and that members of the Township Committee had asked for in the executive session," Kelly said. "We asked the attorney one more time. We had asked them that specific question in the past and got shot down. We asked them again and the judge and the attorneys said 'no'."
The Chatham Township Planning Board, which is scheduled to meet 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 16, has listed the preliminary investigation for the redevelopment as a discussion item on its agenda. The relevant portion of the planning board agenda is below:
PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION FOR THE REDEVELOPMENT OF BLOCK 62, LOTS 71 & 74 AS SET FORTH BY RESOLUTION 2020-086 A resolution of the Township Committee of the Township of Chatham, County of Morris, State of New Jersey, authorizing the Township of Chatham Planning Board to undertake a preliminary investigation for the redevelopment of land known as Block 62, Lot 71 and Block 62, Lot 74 as shown on the Township of Chatham Tax Map