Gone!

You know the tall evergreen tree at the NW corner of the Main Street Exxon station, near Liberty Drug, in the Historic District?*

c. July 2023

That healthy Exxon evergreen tree is gone, chopped down a few days ago!

October 11, 2023

Exactly how that happened is a mystery.

Most trees near our streets are deemed Borough trees, under the protection of the Shade Tree Commission.

https://chathamborough.org/boards/tree

The Borough Code forbids chopping down even private trees without a good reason – and a permit – if the trunk exceeds 6” in diameter.

https://ecode360.com/33840218#33840218

https://ecode360.com/33846330

Chopping down trees in the Historic District is specifically discouraged by Historic Preservation Guidelines (p.39) providing that:

  1. “A conscious effort shall be made to preserve all worthwhile trees which exist on a site…”
  2. “Stripping trees from a lot… shall not be permitted unless it can be shown that grading or construction requirements necessitate removal of trees…”
  3. “Evergreens are prized for their ability to provide winter greenery to the streetscape.”

https://www.chathamborough.org/government/documents/meeting-documents/historic-preservation-meetings/2022-historic-preservation-meeting-documents/2123-chatham-borough-historic-district-design-guidelines-2021-0221-compressed/file

Despite all that protection, that Exxon evergreen tree vanished on or about 10/10/23.

So what happened to the Exxon evergreen? Here’s what we know:

  1. That tree was on the Exxon property (185 Main Street, block 122/lot 2) next to the sidewalk in the Historic District for many years before the new owner bought the Exxon lot on 11/1/21. https://maps.app.goo.gl/xUCBN9p7w5xQSPCg6?g_st=ic https://njparcels.com/property/1404/122/2
  2. The new owner of the Exxon lot was, and still is, an arm of a big business that operates some 70 gas stations and convenience stores across New Jersey and beyond. https://www.zoominfo.com/c/waseem-petroleum/348833162
  3. For whatever reason, the founder and owner of that big enterprise wanted that particular evergreen tree gone.
  4. On or about 5/8/23, the founder filed an application (linked above) for a permit to chop down that tree, which he described as “8” DBH”.
  5. His use of that technical term, “8” DBH,” meaning the diameter of the trunk was 8” at “breast height” (4.5’), suggests familiarity with tree measuring techniques, tree permit rules, or both. https://ecode360.com/33840218#33840218 https://ecode360.com/33846330
  6. That 5/8/23 tree removal application was not decided because the trees were not marked, according to the DPW.
  7. However, the new Exxon owner also designated that evergreen for removal in his pending application for variances necessary to replace the Exxon garage with a convenience store. (See p. 193 of the site plan in the 9/27/23 Zoning Board agenda package linked here: https://chathamborough.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=1)
  8. Zoning Board approval or disapproval of those variances will depend in large part on the likely effect of that project on the general welfare, including preserving the Historic District, which is among the key purposes listed in state zoning law https://law.justia.com/codes/new-jersey/2022/title-40/section-40-55d-2/, the Borough Code, https://ecode360.com/6792663#6792663, and our Master Plan https://chathamborough.org/government/documents/redevelopment-projects-documents/post-office-plaza-redevelopment-documents/master-plan-1/1356-2016-master-plan-reexamination-and-update-report-adopted-11-16-2016/file
  9. The Design Guidelines for the Historic District (quoted above, near the top of this post) specifically protect evergreen trees.
  10. The proposed fate of that evergreen was among the factors that dissuaded the the Historic Preservation Commission from approving the design the new owner of the new Exxon presented to the Historic Preservation Commission at its 9/19/2023 meeting. https://chathamchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/HPC-Recommendation-Report_185-Main_2023-0921.pdf
  11. Instead of waiting to resolve that issue at the next HPC meeting (set for 10/17/23) or at the Zoning Board hearing (then set for 10/25/23),** the new Exxon owner simply authorized next door neighbor Liberty Drug (195 Main Street, block 122/lot 1) to chop down the evergreen, according to DPW and the man behind the counter at Liberty.
  12. On or about October 10, that evergreen tree vanished, stump and all, leaving no way to determine if the diameter of the trunk did in fact exceed 6” as the new Exxon owner had claimed on 5/8/23 and, as such, required a permit.
  13. An official claimed the diameter of the trunk was less than 6” but so far has not provided any evidence.
  14. Whether or not the new owner technically enjoyed the right to fell that healthy tree without a permit, by authorizing an intermediary (Liberty) to do the job before the Zoning Board could even hear his case, in effect the new Exxon owner sidestepped meaningful review of a critical aspect of his variance application.
  15. At the October 17 meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission, and without mentioning the disappearance of the evergreen tree, a lawyer for the new Exxon owner presented a new store design intended to address many of the other concerns raised at the previous HPC meeting, but he was unable to answer several important questions, including some about that missing tree.
  16. The lawyer agreed to return to the Historic Preservation Commission on November 21, along with an expert who can answer the outstanding questions. ***
  17. More important than the loss of one tree is the principle at stake.

Will the Historic Preservation Commission and Zoning Board properly address the new owner’s flagrant flouting of the normal procedures for reviewing variance applications, or will they let it pass, in effect condoning similar behavior in the future?

https://ecode360.com/6793799https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNv8iODCAwE

*The author has elected to abstain from participating in or voting on this matter in her capacity as an alternate member of the Commission.

** The new Exxon owner postponed the Zoning Board hearing on his variance application to the November 15 meeting of the Zoning Board, but as of October 25, it appears the application won’t be heard until the December 20 Zoning Board meeting because the next HPC meeting isn’t until November 21. https://chathamborough.org/resident/calendar/zoning-board-2-1698276600

*** See meeting video, starting approx. minute 58:50. https://vimeo.com/875962789

Read more: Gone!

Do Over

Will our Zoning Board waive the usual rules and allow the new owner of the Exxon gas station to swap out the garage for a Tigermart convenience store?

Background: https://chathamchoice.org/2023/07/how-convenient/

With the hearing on that application set for October 25, the owner isn’t taking any chances. Last week, he polished up his proposal, with a new design.

Though not yet posted on the Borough website, the new design addresses some shortcomings identified by the Historic Preservation Commission at its September public meeting.*

https://chathamchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/HPC-Recommendation-Report_185-Main_2023-0921.pdf

One such concern was the fate of the tall, lovely evergreen at the NW corner of the lot.

Summer 2023: A bright spot in the Historic District for the past two decades
https://www.chathamborough.org/government/documents/meeting-documents/historic-preservation-meetings/2022-historic-preservation-meeting-documents/2123-chatham-borough-historic-district-design-guidelines-2021-0221-compressed/file

After the HPC expressed its concerns, that tree vanished, down to the roots.

Oct. 11, 2023: Gone forever

Will the Historic Preservation Commission accept that? We’ll find out at the Commission’s October 17 public meeting. Here are the standards:

https://www.chathamborough.org/government/documents/meeting-documents/historic-preservation-meetings/2022-historic-preservation-meeting-documents/2123-chatham-borough-historic-district-design-guidelines-2021-0221-compressed/file

Whatever the HPC recommends, the ultimate fate of the proposed Tigermart convenience store is in the hands of the Zoning Board.

https://chathamborough.org/boards/zone

The Zoning Board hearing on the Exxon application is set for October 25, 7:30 pm on the upper level of Borough Hall at 54 Fairmount Avenue.

https://chathamborough.org/resident/calendar/zoning-board-2-1698276600

This hearing is your chance to get the facts, ask questions, and comment on the proposal BEFORE the Zoning Board decides whether or not to waive our normal zoning rules to allow the addition of a convenience store to the Main Street Exxon station. Everyone is welcome to attend.

* The author has elected not to vote or otherwise participate in this matter in her capacity as an alternate commissioner.

An historic moment

On Tuesday night, 9/19 the Historic Preservation Commission** voted to advise the Zoning Board not to approve a proposal to convert the Main Street Exxon station into a combination gas station and convenience store. https://chathamchoice.org/2023/07/how-convenient/

The reason? The application was inconsistent with many of the Design Guidelines for Chatham’s Historic District and lacked sufficient details. https://www.chathamborough.org/government/documents/meeting-documents/historic-preservation-meetings/2022-historic-preservation-meeting-documents/2123-chatham-borough-historic-district-design-guidelines-2021-0221-compressed/file

End of story? No, it’s just the beginning.

The applicant could try to convince the Zoning Board to ignore the advice of the HPC, or could spruce up its proposal and give HPC another try.

That’s something HPC encouraged the applicant to consider, and it seems the applicant may do just that.

Today the Borough website indicates that 9/27 hearing before the Zoning Board will be put off once again, this time until at least October. https://chathamborough.org/resident/calendar/zoning-board-2-1695857400

Of course, even if the applicant can satisfy the Design Guidelines for the Historic District, it will still need to meet the other legal requirements for the variances necessary to complete the proposed project.

Stay tuned.

The Chatham Press, 4 Sep 1936

** The author has elected not to vote or otherwise participate in this matter in her capacity as an alternate commissioner.

Wait. You mean we’re getting another property tax increase?

Yes. Your Chatham school taxes will go up 4.5% next year.

State law allows our School Board to PERMANENTLY raise our school taxes by 2% each year.

This year, they’re also going to PERMANENTLY raise taxes an extra 2.5% ($1.75 million) unless residents vote that down at the polls in November.

Not only will that mean a 4.5% increase next year, it will also mean that our school taxes will increase faster in the future, and there will be no way to reverse the effect. Even the automatic 2% annual school tax increase will be based on a bigger number every year going forward.

Why would the School Board do that?

They say they need an extra $1.75 million next year. That includes $900,000 (a 1.3% increase) to provide health benefits for full-time teachers’ aides, and another $850,000 (a 1.23% increase) to put security vestibules in all the schools.

Before we vote on such a significant tax increase, we need and deserve some facts and answers.

For instance, what other options did the School Board consider? Why couldn’t they fit those expenses into the regular $86.3 million school budget?

Most important, why not simply raise just enough to pay for the security doors? Why a PERMANENT tax increase?

A permanent increase may make sense for recurring expenses, like health benefits, but not for the one-time cost of security doors. They say there will be other security expenses. But what are they?

At the very least, the School Board should spell out exactly what it intends to do with the extra $850,000 in each of the next ten years after the security doors are in place.

It’s your money. They’re your schools. Your children.

Get the facts.

Go to the School Board meeting on Monday September 18, 2023 at 7:30 pm in the High School auditorium.

Email members of the School Board: https://www.chatham-nj.org/staff?filter_ids=302292

Demand that the School Board hold a Town Hall to explain the issue, entertain questions, and hear from residents.

Read up on the school budget: https://chathamchoice.org/2023/04/what-does-it-take-to-educate-4000-children-teens/

Check the School Board website for recent history of the issue: https://www.chatham-nj.org/

Before October 17, make sure you’re registered to vote. https://nj.gov/state/elections/voter-registration.shtml

Vote early or go to the polls on November 7.

Postponed to Dec. 20!

Would you like to see a convenience store/gas station in Chatham’s Main Street Historic District?

Should our Zoning Board waive the normal rules to allow that?* **

Come to the public Zoning Board hearing.

NEW NEW Date!

December 20, 7:30 pm, at Chatham Borough Hall, 54 Fairmount Avenue, upper level.

What’s this all about?

The new owner of the Exxon station on Main Street hopes to add a convenience store that’s inconsistent with our Borough Zoning laws.. To go ahead, he must convince the Zoning Board that adding that store would be good for Chatham.***

The applicant operates a similar gas/convenience store that’s open 24/7 just over the border in Summit. 18 County Rd 649 – Google Maps

https://www.7-eleven.com/locations/nj/summit/6-river-rd-38126
6 River Road

The main difference is that the Shell/7-Eleven on River Road has a brick facade, instead of the vinyl siding the applicant plans for the TigerMart on Chatham’s Main Street.

https://www.propertyshark.com/mason/Property/4431940/6-River-Rd-Summit-NJ-07901/

https://njparcels.com/property/2018/201/12#google_vignette

By keeping long hours – often all night – convenience stores average 1,400 transactions per day, and most patrons (65%) consume their purchases on the spot. “Litter can be a significant challenge,” notes the trade association that advocates for the industry. @

The Exxon proposal for Chatham would also involve chopping down at least one 20 ft Douglas Fir tree and adding a bigger sign that lights up.** https://ecode360.com/33846367#33846367. https://ecode360.com/6793659

How would a place like that affect Chatham’s historic district or the value of nearby homes on or near Hillside Avenue?

Historic district: https://www.chathamborough.org/government/documents/maps/1260-chatham-borough-historic-district-april-2014/file

https://www.chathamborough.org/government/documents/meeting-documents/historic-preservation-meetings/2022-historic-preservation-meeting-documents/2123-chatham-borough-historic-district-design-guidelines-2021-0221-compressed/file

Come to the public hearing, postponed yet again to November 15, 7:30 pm, at Chatham Borough Hall, 54 Fairmount Avenue, upper level.

That is your chance to get the facts, ask questions, make comments, and show you care about your town.

If you cannot be there in person, you can Zoom or call in. You’ll find the directions by clicking on the Zoning Board Meeting to be posted on the Borough calendar:

https://chathamborough.org

https://chathamborough.org/resident/calendar/zoning-board-2-1692833400

The Zoning Board has announced that there will be no further official notice of this proposed project.

* Details about the 0.59-acre property, block 122/lot 2: https://njparcels.com/property/1404/122/2

** Exactly what is the applicant proposing to build? To see the complete application, visit the Clerk’s office at Borough Hall, 54 Main Street or click on “Agenda Packet” for the Zoning Board at this link: https://chathamborough.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=1

Or download the basic application (no exhibits or supporting documents):

*** What does the applicant need to prove? https://chathamborough.org/boards/zone

Want more detail? Look at these files:

Any similar situations?

https://casetext.com/case/financial-services-v-zoning-brd-of-adj

@ Source: “Convenience Stores and Their Communities,” published April 2019 by National Association of Convenience Stores, accessed August 5, 2023 at https://www.lilanduseandzoning.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/128/2020/01/How-Stores-Work.pdf

Why should Chatham Borough pay more than its fair share?

Our Peeping Goat had the good sense to run from harm.

https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2023/05/12/peeping-goat/7941683898359/

Let’s hope our Borough Council will do the same!

The Council is under pressure to burden Borough taxpayers with more than their fair share of school taxes, jeopardizing its ability to provide urgent necessities like new fire trucks.

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/chatham/articles/attention-chatham-borough-residents-would-you-like-to-pay-more-than-your-fair-share-of-our-school-taxes

https://patch.com/new-jersey/chatham/posts

https://www.newjerseyhills.com/chatham_courier/opinion/letters_to_the_editor/letter-should-chatham-borough-pay-more-than-its-fair-share/article_a42feec2-09ef-11ee-8827-6b766a82977e.html

Why would our Borough Council even consider jeopardizing its ability to meet pressing needs?

Why should Chatham Borough pay more than its fair share of school taxes?

Shouldn’t Borough residents have a say in such a decision?

Tell your Council to stay in its own lane and follow the normal procedure.

[email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected]

The big question

Delighted to see some fresh faces at the May 8 Borough Council meeting. Kudos to the four newcomers who stepped up to the microphone that night to talk about the biggest issue facing the Borough, namely:

Shall we use our Borough PILOT revenue from the new River Road development to reduce our property taxes and pay for urgent necessities like fire trucks? Or shall we spend that money on luxuries and gifts?

Before that night, every Borough resident who spoke out asked the Council to use our PILOT money for property tax relief and urgent necessities like fire trucks.

We heard a different point of view at that May 8th Council meeting, where three Borough residents – and a lady from Chatham Township – asked the Borough Council to spend some of our Borough PILOT money on gifts to our joint School District.

(Click here https://chathamborough.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=129 and start around minute 1:07:00)

That’s understandable: Education is a worthy cause. If the schools need more money, then they should have it. And vigorous discussion can help foster informed decision-making.

Yet judging from the comments made at that Council meeting, we are nowhere near ready to make an informed decision about our Borough PILOT money. Some of the speakers seemed downright confused.

For instance, most of the speakers didn’t seem to realize that the PILOT money is OUR money – a Borough asset. If we give it away, we’ll have to raise our Borough property taxes to pay for necessities like fire trucks.

Also, most of the May 8 presentations to the Council rested on the mistaken assumption that the School District is is short on funds and has nowhere else to turn for help.

That simply isn’t the case.

In fact, the School District has far greater resources than does Chatham Borough – including a $86.3 million annual budget and the option to raise additional funds from Borough and Township taxpayers alike, using ballot questions like the two we’ll vote on this November.

https://chathamchoice.org/2023/04/what-does-it-take-to-educate-4000-children-teens/?preview=true

As such, simply gifting scarce Borough funds to the School District makes no more sense than giving them to the local Post Office, New Jersey Transit, the Morristown hospital.

Important as those institutions are, they aren’t municipal functions, and neither is the School District. The Council has no business diverting scarce Borough resources to any non-municipal purpose without voter approval.

What’s more, the Borough Council has no right to meddle in School District affairs. It should stay in its own lane, and defer to the proper authority on local education: the School Board.

If the School District needs more money, the Township and Borough should share the expense – the same way they share every other cost of operating the schools- following the normal process the School Board has been using for years:

Residents pitch their ideas to the School Board. If the Board deems an expenditure worthwhile, it either fits it into its regular guaranteed annual budget, or else floats a ballot question, giving Borough and Township residents alike the chance to decide if the idea justifies raising our taxes. That’s the normal procedure. The Borough Council plays no role in that..

If the Council is determined to overstep its traditional role and consider diverting our Borough PILOT funds for a gift in excess of the Borough’s fair share of school expenses, it certainly should not do so without the consent of residents.

The Council should put the question on the ballot and let Borough voters decide.

At the very least, the Council should provide a timely forum for vigorous, robust public debate before even considering earmarking our Borough PILOT money for any particular purpose.

The Borough Council and voters alike should beware of making such an important choice based on false assumptions. For instance:

PILOT PAYMENTS: MYTH versus REALITY

MYTH: Only a selfish cheapskate – who values money more than the education of our children – would oppose gifting our Borough PILOT money to the School District.

MYTH:  The School District deserves a portion of our Borough’s River Road PILOT money, because the District would have received nearly two thirds of the property taxes from River Road if it paid property taxes.

REALITY:  Not so. It’s a question of accountability. For the Council to gift money to the School District is to do an end run around voters, diminishing the community’s voice in our schools – and potentially subjecting them to partisan political control. 

REALITY: Not so. Given the 2% cap, the School District wouldn’t be entitled to any additional property tax revenue if River Road were a taxpaying development.

MYTH: Even if the School District isn’t legally entitled to a portion of the PILOT money, the Council should gift the District PILOT money in light of the additional schoolchildren at River Road.

REALITY: Nonsense. Absent voter approval, the School District’s portion of property taxes remains exactly the same whether enrollment plummets or soars. Why should the possibility of additional school children at River Road change that rule?

MYTH: If the Borough doesn’t promise to share our PILOT money with the School District, the quality of education will suffer.

REALITY: Nonsense. The School Board president has admitted it’s impossible to predict how much – or even if – the River Road project might increase school expenses. If it does increase expenses significantly, the District will budget for it – or else float a ballot question to raise more money, just like every other district in the state.

MYTH: If the Borough Council doesn’t share our PILOT money with the School District, it will unfairly burden Township residents with the cost of educating additional Borough school children at River Road.

REALITY: Preposterous. Borough residents are required to help bear the cost of educating additional children from new Township developments like the Enclave. How is it unfair for Township residents to help bear the cost of educating additional children from a new Borough development like River Road?

Tell your Mayor & Borough Council what you think!

[email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected]

For the response click here: https://chathamborough.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=130 (Minute 2:14:45)

For more detail, check out this letter: 

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/chatham/articles/it-s-our-money-use-borough-pilot-revenues-to-reduce-property-taxes-and-cover-necessities

Care to dig deeper? Click here: 

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/chatham/articles/chatham-borough-council-do-the-right-thing-concerning-pilot-not-merely-what-s-legally-permissible-or-expedient

Budget Tricks

When you pay property taxes to Chatham Borough or Township, approximately two thirds of your tax dollars go to pay 90% of the cost of running the Chatham schools – around $86 million per year.

That’s a big deal, because how the School Board chooses to spend your tax dollars pretty much determines the quality of education your children get – and the resale value of your house.

How will the School Board opt to spend your money next year? How much will they raise your property taxes?

Find out this Monday, April 24, 7:30 pm, when our School Board votes on the 2023/2024 budget.

Ever wonder who is responsible for making sure our school tax dollars are well spent?

Certainly not our Chatham Borough and Township officials. Yes, they collect the property taxes, but they have no control over the amount of money that goes to the schools – or how it’s spent.

Almost equally powerless are Chatham Borough and Township residents. Sure we pay the property taxes, but we have virtually no control over how the School Board spends our money.

Why? Because we lost control of our schools in 2015, when our School Board decided to stop letting us residents vote on the annual budget.

(For details, click here: https://chathamchoice.org/2015/10/lost-your-right-to-vote-on-the-school-budget/ or go to the 1 hour 46 minute mark here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rbel8dtNRMc)

Since 2015, Chatham parents and residents have had a voice in the operation of our schools only on the rare occasions when the School Board was looking to exceed last year’s budget by more than 2%. That’s rare because the 2% cap excludes certain frequent increases in health and pension costs.

Result? The Chatham School Board is seldom held accountable to anyone.

Consider the $86.3 million budget (linked below) that our School Board expects to adopt at its April 24 meeting. That budget fills 103 pages but it isn’t terribly illuminating. (What, for instance, are the “other purchased services” that are up 100% over last year? p. 13, Line 78100)

Even if there were something dreadful buried in those pages, Chatham residents couldn’t stop it, because the increase over last year’s budget falls under the 2% cap.

And that cap is elastic. For instance, this year’s proposed budget includes a cap bank, which will allow the School Board to exceed the 2% cap by $1 million next year – without triggering a vote on the budget. (p. 31)

Most troubling is the way the proposed budget treats capital spending. It shows a “decrease in capital improvements” next year (p. 13), when in reality the School Board plans to raise our property taxes so it can spend an extra $850,000 on security doors. (p. 32)

The proposal to build security doors falls outside the 2% cap because the School Board has decided to let Chatham residents vote on it next November, along with a proposal to spend an extra $975,000 on full-time teacher’s aides {paraprofessionals.) (p. 33)

Both of those so-called “second questions” seem like worthy causes. If the School Board cannot cover them in the regular budget, then taking them to the voters in November is the right thing to do. But the way the School Board has done it is wrong.

Trouble is, the School Board has positioned both proposals as permanent increases in our property taxes, and in the base budget used to calculate the 2% annual increases going forward, which will yield even higher property taxes.

That may be fine for paying full-time paraprofessionals, because that’s a recurring expense. It is not fine when it comes to installing the security doors, a one-time expense that cannot justify a permanent increase in the school budget.

What would the School Board do with that money in subsequent years? The second question about the security doors doesn’t say.

Why would we allow the School Board to raise our taxes permanently by $850,000 (plus 2% annually forever) without explanation?

That doesn’t seem to comply with NJ Fiscal Accountability law, which forbids using such a proposal to raise money for “any capital outlay(s) necessary for health and safety reasons” Section 6A:23A-12.1 (a)(3) and requires such proposals to be worded clearly, “specifically identifying the program purposes” Section 6A:23A-12.1 (a)(6) https://casetext.com/regulation/new-jersey-administrative-code/title-6a-education/chapter-23a-fiscal-accountability-efficiency-and-budgeting-procedures

See for yourself here: https://casetext.com/regulation/new-jersey-administrative-code/title-6a-education/chapter-23a-fiscal-accountability-efficiency-and-budgeting-procedures/subchapter-12-tax-levy-growth-limitation-separate-voter-approval/section-6a23a-121-voter-authorization-to-exceed-tax-levy-limitation-separate-proposals

The solution is for the School Board to edit the second question to make the purpose explicit, fit the security doors into its regular budget, or else simply reframe that proposal as a one-time expenditure.

If the Board refuses to make that simple correction, we’ll face a tough choice in November: either vote down the security doors or accept a permanent increase in our property taxes for no clear purpose.

See the proposed budget here:

You can find budget summaries here:

https://www.chatham-nj.org/domain/1622

Good news about the River Road Project

Our Borough Council got some good news at its April 10 meeting.

Retired Bloomfield Fire Captain Robert Penn reported that the apartment project going up on River Road is far safer than he had expected. Check out his words at minute 1:29:28:

https://chathamborough.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=123

With that, Captain Penn put to rest most of the fire safety concerns he had raised at the March 27 Council meeting.

https://chathamborough.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=121 Go to minute 1:56:56

Of course, our volunteer fire fighters are still hobbled by ancient fire trucks and have no good way to put out fires in the growing number of electric cars.

https://chathamborough.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=121 Go to minute 53:00