Can we count on Chatham Borough Mayor Thad Kobylarz to protect us from over development that would destroy our little town?
Find out at the Monday Feb 28 Borough Council meeting, where the Mayor says he hopes to have news on Post Office Plaza. https://patch.com/new-jersey/chatham/post-office-plaza-redevelopment-update-expected-chatham.
(The meeting is 7:30 pm at Borough Hall, 54 Fairmount Avenue, upper level, or you can attend virtually here: https://www.chathamborough.org/component/dpcalendar/event/2386)
Given the settlement our Mayor and Council approved on June 14, 2021, http://chathamchoice.org/2021/09/, it appears that we have only two real options:
- 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!
Best of all, by choosing the second option, we’ll preserve our free public parking lot, and our chance to landscape it and add a park, a popular proposal suggested by community leader Fran Drew http://chathamchoice.org/2021/07/dont-sacrifice-chatham-to-the-big-developer/, instead of getting stuck with a White Elephant complex we won’t need as affordable housing law evolves.
How can you help insure that Chatham makes the right choice?
Before the Feb 28 Council meeting, email the Mayor and Borough Council https://chathamborough.org/government/mayor.
Tell them that:
- 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.