Tag Archives: Jonathan Drill

A good starting point for Post Office Plaza

At last we have some idea what the new apartment house on Bowers Lane might look like:

 

This is the view from the railroad embankment, alongside which there will be space for at least 17 cars. The short end of the L-shaped building runs along Bowers Lane. We have yet to see the sides that will be visible from the street.

 

The lower level includes seven family apartments and a community room with a prep kitchen.

 

The upper level has eight family apartments, including two three bedroom units.

That’s the tentative design presented by Tom Toronto of Bergen County’s United Way and Mike Scro of Z Plus architects at a public meeting conducted by Borough planner Kendra Lelie last night at Borough Hall.

Of course, that United Way design is only the first step. Our planner has promised a collaborative decision-making process known as a “charette.”

(Here’s a definition: https://urban-regeneration.worldbank.org/node/40)

Assuming it’s a real charette, we residents and taxpayers will have multiple opportunities to help choose the ultimate design.

Don’t wail ‘till the design goes to the Planning Board/Historic Preservation Commission. By that time it will be harder to make changes.

Start raising any questions or issues now, while there’s still time to make a difference. For instance:

What will the place look like from Bowers Lane, or from the rest of Post Office Plaza?

Will the route along the south side of the Annex – from our public parking lot to Bowers Lane – still be a road, or only an alley?

Where will the new residents park their bikes and scooters?

Will the requisite electric charging station take up another? Will non-residents be allowed to use the later?

You can start by reviewing our planner’s Power Point: https://onedrive.live.com/edit.aspx?resid=B17AECD7AF3011DE!591&ithint=file%2cpptx

For a more detailed explanation of the proposed design and the process, check out this short video of the meeting:

Here’s how the Tap described the presentation:

https://outlook.live.com/mail/0/inbox/id/AQMkADAwATIwMTAwAC0wMmFmLWFmNDctMDACLTAwCgBGAAADm2aEtb9zqkivM9bdxIhNiQcAvxBBvbpmYUeDFmvpbvi7CgAAAgEMAAAAvxBBvbpmYUeDFmvpbvi7CgAF%2BLOYfQAAAA%3D%3D

Great News

Yesterday morning, after three tense public hearings, Morris County Superior Court Judge Stephan Hansbury soundly rejected the Kushners’ brazen attempt to cram an unpopular 100-rental unit project on mostly public land behind our Main Street Post Office.

That decision frees Chatham Borough to meet part of its affordable housing requirements by building a 15-unit apartment house there, as our Mayor & Council voted on May 2.

For a quick summary, watch the video of Mayor Kobylarz’s comments in this Tap story:

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/chatham/?utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Chatham+Borough+Mayor%253A+Court+Finds+that+the+Borough+is+in+Compliance+with+its+Affordable+Housing+Obligations%253B+SV+Suit+Denied&utm_campaign=Chatham+Borough+Mayor%253A+Court+Finds+that+the+Borough+is+in+Compliance+with+its+Affordable+Housing+Obligations%253B+SV+Suit+Denied

For details, check out the records at e-courts, culminating in this final court order finding Chatham in compliance with its affordable housing obligations through September 29, 2026:

Will the Kushners accept that outcome and let Chatham build some affordable housing at Post Office Plaza, or will they continue to sue, appeal, and otherwise try to block progress? Stay tuned here and at this FB group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2429255717325924

Like a dog with a bone

Looks like the Kushners will never give up trying to seize control of Chatham’s Post Office Plaza.

They’re still kicking and screaming to a Morris County Judge, even after he denied them standing, our Mayor announced the timetable for a better plan for that spot, the Borough Council voted to backstop the cost up to $6 million, and the Special Master seemed satisfied.

#keepchathamsmall

The Kushner partnership SV and FSHC are trying to re-litigate the same issue the judge decided at the last hearing:

On October 12 they filed this with the court:

On October 21 they demanded that the court reconsider its decision:

Check our what Chatham counsel Jonathan Drill has to say about all that:

FSHC is on their side:

Will the judge do the right thing again? See for yourself! Monday, Nov. 7, 10:00 am, Morris County Court House, Morristown, NJ

Last Act?

Has Chatham met its obligation to allow affordable housing in the Borough, including Post Office Plaza?

We’ve done everything on the punch list. Now a judge will decide if that’s enough.

Come see for yourself: Monday November 7, 10:00 am, in Court Room 151, Morris County Court House, 56 Washington Street, Morristown, NJ,

Good News

Now thanks to a wise Morris County judge, Chatham Borough will have a chance to build 15 affordable apartments at Post Office Plaza – and not 85 unaffordable apartments.

#KEEPCHATHAMSMALL

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/chatham/sections/real-estate/articles/judge-hansbury-rules-in-favor-of-chatham-on-pop-the-town-deserves-a-chance-to-meet-their-obligation-with-stand-alone-units?utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Judge+Hansbury+Rules+in+Favor+of+Chatham+on+POP%3A++The+town+deserves+a+chance+to+meet+their+obligation+with+stand-alone+units&utm_campaign=Judge+Hansbury+Rules+in+Favor+of+Chatham+on+POP%3A++The+town+deserves+a+chance+to+meet+their+obligation+with+stand-alone+units

Bad News

The rich Kushner developers are still trying to force Chatham Borough to let them build a 100-unit rental apartment project at Post Office Plaza – instead of our own 15-affordable apartment house, which the Borough Council voted to approve last May 2.

Will the Kushners get away with that?

Find out this Thursday, August 25, when the Honorable Stephen Hansbury will consider if it’s better for Post Office Plaza to house 15 families or 100 families with no place for children to play.

Interested? Come to the Morris County courthouse, Court & Anne Streets, CR 151, at 1:30 pm on Thursday August 25, 2022.

Misinformation

You read in the local paper about an August 9 hearing on the Kushners’ sore looser lawsuit against Chatham Borough over the fate of Post Office Plaza? Not so!

The judge has postponed that hearing to August 25, when he’ll also consider Final Compliance and related actions by Fair Share Housing Center.

What Now?

Nearly three years ago, Chatham’s Mayor & Borough Council granted a Kushner family-led partnership the exclusive right to submit proposals for a Borough-sponsored real estate development at Post Office Plaza.

Kushner and partners failed to come up with a proposal acceptable to the Borough.

Best they could offer was a hulking, 100-rental unit, commercial apartment/retail project. It would have provided 15 affordable apartments, but wiped out existing public parking, clogged up traffic on Main Street, cost taxpayers heaven-only-knows-what, and destroyed the small town charm of our Borough. Residents didn’t like it.

On January 26, 2022, our Mayor & Council let the exclusive period lapse, and began to entertain other proposals. On May 2, they voted to build a modest, 15-family, all-affordable apartment house at Post Office Plaza.

Instead of accepting that decision, on Wednesday, June 8 the Kushner partnership asked an affordable housing judge to force our Mayor & Council to accept the commercial real estate project they had just voted down.

The judge chose July 8 as the date for a hearing on the Kushner motion, making it unlikely that the judge will decide as expected on June 24 whether Chatham has fulfilled its affordable housing obligations. http://chathamchoice.org/2022/05/whats-next-for-post-office-plaza-2/

Last Friday, June 10, the Borough Council cancelled its regular Monday, June 13 meeting, only to turn around and schedule a special meeting for 5:00 pm this coming Wednesday, June 22.

Behind the scenes

Behind the scenes, our paid experts have been revising a key Borough document called the Housing Element & Fair Share Plan to satisfy the Borough’s obligations under the Secret Agreement dated June 14, 2021 as amended (paragraphs 8(b)(iii) and 12.) http://chathamchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/06-14-2021-Settlement-Agreement-Chatham-Borough-MRS-L-1906-15-Fully-Executed.pdf

The revised Housing Element will be up for approval at two special meetings set for the coming week, both at 7:30 pm, Borough Hall, 54 Fairmount Avenue, upper level, and virtually as indicated in the links below.

May 26 – Planning Board

https://www.chathamborough.org/component/dpcalendar/event/3895

May 31 – Mayor & Borough Council

http://chathamborough.org/component/dpcalendar/event/3896

Here’s a link to the proposed Housing Element, which the Planning Board and Council are expected to approve in the next few days:

https://www.chathamborough.org/government/documents/meeting-documents/planning-board-meetings/2022-planning-board-meeting-documents/2022-planning-board-agendas/2108-2022-05-16-hefsp-amendment-final4/file

Here’s the document the Planning Board adopted:

https://legistarweb-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/attachment/pdf/1399493/2022-05-27-HEFSP_amendment.finaladopted.pdf

#KEEPCHATHAMSMALL