Tag Archives: Kobylarz

What Now?

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

Over the next two and a half years, 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

What’s Next for Post Office Plaza?

1 June 2022 – New Deadline for Amending the Housing Element and Spending Plan as required by the 14 June 2021 Agreement

Here is the document the Borough Council must amend by June 1:

https://chathamborough.org/government/documents/redevelopment-projects-documents/general-documents/1514-2016-housing-element-and-fair-share-plan-adopted-09-21-2016-2/file

Please note that the amendment will require a special meeting of the Planning Board, because it has cancelled both May meetings.

Below is the document Jonathan Drill used to create that June 1 deadline only after he had misled Borough residents on an April 6 Zoom, falsely claiming that the Council must name and sign a developer by June 1:

24 June 2022 – 1:30 pm – Virtual Hearing on Compliance with the 14 June 2021 Agreement:

At that 24 June hearing, the Judge is expected to decide whether or not the Borough has fulfilled its obligations under the agreement of 14 June 2021 and should be allowed to retain its immunity from builder’s remedy lawsuits until 1 July 2025.

For the Zoom link, contact Jonathan Drill, jdrill@sksdlaw.com, by 22 June.

For copies of the implementing documents, contact Acting Clerk Steve Williams at 973-635-0674 or swilliams@chathamborough.org.

https://www.chathamborough.org/component/fileman/file/Notice%20of%20Compliance%20Hearing%20%20-%20Affordable%20Housing%20Settlement%20Agreement.pdf?routed=1&container=fileman-attachments

1 July 2025 – End of Borough’s Immunity from Builder’s Remedy Lawsuits – Fourth Round Begins

Close call

Chatham Borough dodged a bullet last week.

Our Mayor cast the tie-breaking vote in the choice between the two leading proposals for the redevelopment of Post Office Plaza. He sided with the three Council members who had voted to build a modest, 15-family, all affordable apartment house, rather than the 100-family, mixed-use project favored by the other three. https://www.tapinto.net/towns/chatham/sections/real-estate/articles/chatham-borough-mayor-kobylarz-casts-tie-breaking-vote-for-post-office-plaza-chooses-15-100-affordable-housing-over-kre-100

The Mayor made the right choice, as it was the smallest and best of the options presented. But those options were too limited. All five involved new construction and the sacrifice of at least some public parking. We’d be far better off using existing apartments to meet our affordable housing quotas. http://chathamchoice.org/2022/04/whats-the-rush/

Our Mayor & Council will soon have another chance to pursue that so called ”market-to-affordable” option when they enter negotiations for the fourth round of affordable housing quotas due in July 2025. We must urge and encourage them to seize that opportunity. 

For a different take on the history of POP check out this LTE by Republican CBC candidates: https://www.tapinto.net/towns/chatham/articles/the-post-office-plaza-process-too-little-too-late?fbclid=IwAR1l65e6sGNI27dSSVopUA7QC67OytVcrjMq-pcQkoBE8vR3HN3Ly_t_6TQ

Our future

This Monday, May 2, our Council will vote on the future of Chatham Borough.

Will they vote for the good of our hometown? Or chase the hope of big revenues?

No amount of revenue can ever justify jeopardizing the lives of our volunteer firefighters.

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/chatham/categories/letters-to-the-editor/articles/a-firefighter-s-response-to-mathiasen-s-letter-on-post-office-plaza?fbclid=IwAR06anY8PPD3Pli6oJXpnLEYWw1-mO6iRlh0E0AeRSNOO7jSO41NiW5xG9s

Call 973 701 6811. Leave a message. Tell the Mayor & Council that if we MUST build at POP, you prefer the smallest and safest option, which is #3.

Come to the Council meeting this Monday, May 2, 7:30 pm, Borough Hall, 54 Fairmount Avenue, upper level.

Great Meeting

Terrific showing at last night’s Town Hall on the reckless overdevelopment of Post Office Plaza.

Were you satisfied with the options on offer? Prefer to see a broader range of better options? Hit this link: https://forms.gle/9gmtKu4SE6Yr4YP28

We’ll have another shot at it next Monday night, April 25, 7:30, when Borough lawyer Jonathan Drill returns to the Middle School auditorium to spin us with half-truths, as he did at the April 6 Zoom meeting:

http://chathamchoice.org/2022/04/whats-the-rush/

Just don’t let him badger, interrupt, condescend to and bully you (as he did last night) into picking one of his options. Let’s get all the facts before making any choices.

Whatever the eventual outcome, Chatham will be far better off because of our efforts.

Best thing to do now is write a quick letter to the editor. https://www.tapinto.net/towns/chatham/  Give your opinion of last night’s Town Hall. Maybe mention our wonderful moderator. The Council’s failure to participate. The Mayor suddenly ending the meeting when he’d promised to go all night. Their failure to negotiate with Fran Drew as with the other bidders.

Please include this link to our petition, calling for a broad range of options: https://forms.gle/9gmtKu4SE6Yr4YP28

Dates Not Written in Stone

Why are our Mayor & Council in such a big hurry to decide the fate of Post Office Plaza on May 2, only two weeks after they see the options on April 18?

Are they racing to satisfy our affordable housing quota?*

“The Borough is also facing a June deadline deciding how this requirement will be met,” wrote Council member Jocelyn Mathiasen in a March 21, 2022 letter to the TAP.

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/chatham/articles/some-answers-and-thoughts-on-post-office-plaza

That’s what we hear from Chatham lawyer Jonathan Drill.

“The Borough has to come up with something, and have an agreement reached with somebody by June 1… or we could be facing some legal problems…” said Mr. Drill on an April 6, 2022 Zoom with residents.

See https://vimeo.com/696701498, especially starting around 1:1:0 & 1:22:0

But that isn’t what it says in the agreement our Mayor signed last June 14, 2021.**

And it isn’t what Mr. Drill had our planning expert testify – under oath – at an August 6, 2021 hearing where the judge approved that agreement:

“[T}he Redevelopment Agreement is due by, well, by June first of 2022…,” she testified. “[T]here are some options that if we aren’t able to come to some agreement with a redeveloper by that particular date that we could either substitute a separate… affordable housing mechanism… or ask for an extension if we are moving forward with the, a redeveloper for that area…”***

So far, Mr. Drill has refused to explain why he insists that June 1 date is written in stone.

Best any layman can tell, that June 1 date was a mere target date – not written in stone.

The judge didn’t even mention June 1 in his order approving the June 14 agreement.***

There is no apparent reason for our Mayor & Council to lunge ahead with a proposal we haven’t even seen yet.

There is no reason why the Mayor & Council cannot put a broad range of proposals on their voting menu, including a proposal to convert existing market rate apartments to affordable housing, also called “Market-to-Affordable” or “M2A.”

Please insist that they include the M2A option on the voting menu. Sign this letter:

https://forms.gle/9gmtKu4SE6Yr4YP28

Epilogue: Caught lying about that alleged June 1 deadline, Mr. Drill then postponed a different (April 29) deadline to June 1, in a sad bid to save face at the April 18 Town Hall. http://chathamchoice.org/2022/04/

*In the Matter of Chatham Borough, MRS-L-Docket No. 1906-15

** Settlement Agreement dated June 14, 2021:

*** Audio of August 6, 2021 hearing In the Matter of Chatham Borough, MRS-L-Docket No. 1906-15: https://njcourtsrecords.awsapps.com/workdocs/index.html#/share/document/8bd529023335e3c1c7adda7c04c1aa81aef4f9fa5aa00310c163292748a0627c (beginning at 9:24:18)

(The access code is: 1234. Download a copy to a Windows computer and click on “Extract All.” After extracting (unzip), look in the BIN folder, double click on the CPLAYER file, and press the arrow to start playing it. Save the file. The link expires at the end of May 2022.)

****2021-09-01-Chatham-Order-Approving-First-Amendment-and-Scheduling-Hearing-eCourts In the Matter of Chatham Borough, MRS-L-Docket No. 1906-15



The clock is ticking

Friends & Neighbors,

Chatham Borough now faces the biggest decision in its long history: the fate of Post Office Plaza.  

Our Mayor & Council are set to reveal the options this Monday, April 18th, and hold a FINAL VOTE only two weeks later, on May 2nd

That is not enough time to think about – much less let us residents comment on – a decision that will affect all of us and generations to follow. 

Please help the Mayor & Council get this one right. 

1. Sign this letter: https://forms.gle/9gmtKu4SE6Yr4YP28, which asks the Mayor & Council to include a broad range of proposals on the menu of voting options. 

2. Alert friends & neighbors: Cut, copy and forward this by e-mail or text, and share it on social media.

3. Bring friends & neighbors to the Town Hall this Monday, April 18, 7:30 pm, Chatham Middle School auditorium, 480 Main Street. 

4. E-mail the Mayor & Council (chathamborough.org/government/mayor):

  • Ask them to give 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).

Wait! They’re postponing it AGAIN?!

For details and links, tap here: https://www.chathamborough.org/meetings/meeting-documents/mayor-council-meeting/2022-mayor-council-agendas/2022-mayor-council-agendas-1/1923-03-30-2022-final-agenda/file

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.”