Ask them togive themselves more time to think – and consider what we residents want – before voting (June 1 is not a hard & fast deadline – see link here http://chathamchoice.org/2022/04/);
Insist that they include on the menu of voting options a broad range of proposals for Post Office Plaza – at least one that does not involve new construction, or impinge on our public parking lot (such as Market-to-Affordable).
The postcard above appeared in Chatham mailboxes on Monday 3/28 and Tuesday 3/29. That night – on the eve of the Wednesday 3/30 Town Hall – the Mayor & Council suddenly announced that they were POSTPONING the 3/30 Town Hall AGAIN, this time claiming that “very recent developments involving POP require further review and analysis.”
Now it’s time for the Mayor to reveal the five options under consideration, so we can prepare for that Town Hall meeting. If his lawyer said it was ok to do that for the Monday 3/21 meeting, there’s no reason he can’t release the information on Monday 3/21.
The Mayor would be wise to include at least one good option – this one:
We need to see those five options well before that special public meeting, so we’ll have a chance to evaluate them.
We need to know that among the options presented will be the one that’s best for Chatham: Satisfy our POP affordable housing quota by subsidizing 15 existing apartments. Make POP more attractive by landscaping and resurfacing the parking lot, and NOT selling, gifting, leasing, or otherwise disposing of any Borough land; or reducing the amount of free, open air, surface public parking; or building any kind of parking garage; or granting a PILOT tax break – or any other kind of corporate welfare. Why? http://chathamchoice.org/2022/02/our-little-town/
With the future of Chatham at stake, we need more than one such special public meeting, something our Mayor explicitly promised on 27 January 2020. (Start at minute 13:00.) https://vimeo.com/387823706?embedded=true&source=video_title&owner=40797229
Cave-in, and build a big commercial housing project – smaller perhaps, but similar to the Kushners’ 4-story, 118-rental-unit block that would increase density, choke our streets, rob us of our public parking lot, burden our schools, diminish our quality of life – and probably cost Chatham a bundle, while providing a mere 15 affordable units. http://chathamchoice.org/2022/01/is-this-what-you-want-for-chatham/ OR
Stand firm, and persuade Fair Share Housing to let us preserve our public parking lot and small town quality of life, while satisfying our POP affordable housing quota by subsidizing 15 existing apartments scattered around town. http://chathamchoice.org/2021/10/
Of course, the second option is far better for Chatham and for the newcomers. If we make this choice, they won’t be set aside, crammed between the Post Office and the railroad tracks. They’ll be our next-door-neighbors and an integral part of our community.
In return, we’ll be able satisfy our affordable housing obligations for POP, and gain a bit of diversity, without increasing our population, density, traffic congestion, or air pollution.
As such, if we choose the second option, we won’t need to worry about higher costs for police, schooling, fire fighting, public works, etc. We’ll pay only the difference between the market rent and the affordable rent set by law for those few units – a knowable amount – instead of gambling our future on a big housing complex, whose effect on our net revenues Chatham has never even tried to estimate!
Before we take even one more step with Post Office Plaza, we need to know the costs and implications of each option, as our Mayor first promised in January 2020. (Minute 13) https://vimeo.com/387823706
We’d rather trim the Borough budget a bit – or even increase taxes a little – to subsidize existing apartments, than play Russian roulette with Chatham’s future.
We’re 100% behind the Mayor negotiating to subsidize existing apartments rather than building a new apartment project that will destroy our quality of life, and we are counting on the Council to support that, too.
When they come up for re-election, we will vote accordingly.