give the Kushner partnership yet another extension of time (their sixth!) to come up with a decent design for Post Office Plaza; or
let the Kushners’ exclusive contract expire – and give someone else a chance to design something that might suit us – instead of swamping our roads, schools, police and fire departments, and destroying our quality of life in Chatham Borough?
Which way will the Mayor and Council decide to go? To find out, tune in this Monday, Jan 24, at 7:30 pm using this link:
Could a fire truck get close enough to fight a fire on the south side of the building? Photo credit: TapintoChatham
That video doesn’t show exactly what the project would look like, but what it does reveal is troubling to say the least.
The Kushner design sacrifices the free, public, surface parking lot we treasure, substituting fewer public spaces – mostly in a hulking, 4-story parking garage along the railroad tracks.
With no service road along those tracks, it appears the only way to get to that garage by car is via narrow, dead-end Bowers Lane, which is also the future site of a 34-plus-unit assisted living facility. And the only way out of that garage is a right turn from Bowers Lane onto our already clogged-up Main Street.
Worse yet, on foot, the only way shown into – or out of – that garage is in a secluded spot up against the railroad tracks, at the end of a narrow alley. (Would you have your mother use that door?)
The Kushner design also appears to encroach upon the property of some adjacent landowners, who were not even consulted.
Building it would require tearing down one of the most interesting historic sites in Chatham:
Once built, this new Kushner project would justify replacing other Chatham properties with 4-story buildings, inevitably robbing Chatham of the low-rise charm that drew many of us here in the first place.
Would this project at least provide plenty of affordable housing? No. It would yield a mere15 of the 320 affordable units envisioned in the settlement the Mayor signed on June 14, 2021.
Let’s face it: This Kushner proposal isn’t good for anyone except the rich developers.
But it’s pretty much what you can expect to see in Post Office Plaza unless our Mayor can persuade Fair Share Housing to accept a better solution – for instance, letting us subsidize 15 or so existing apartments – instead of building a big commercial project nobody wants.
What do you think of this latest Kushner scheme for Chatham? Email: email@example.com
Also, be sure to share your opinions with our Mayor before Jan 24, 2022, when the Borough Council must decide whether to renew the Kushner partnership’s exclusive status as redeveloper, or cut them loose.
Help the Mayor resist the pressure to sacrifice Chatham to the big developers. Remind him of what he said back in 2016: