Monthly Archives: December 2023

Bullet dodged?*

Good news: The Zoning Board didn’t ok adding a convenience store to the Exxon station at the busy corner of Hillside & Main. Or rather they didn’t approve it at the December meeting.

But that doesn’t mean the Zoning Board won’t approve it on Tuesday, January 30, 2024, when the hearing on the Exxon application continues! (7:00 PM at Borough Hall, 54 Fairmount Avenue)

That January 30 hearing may be your last chance to find out what’s going on and have your say before the Zoning Board votes to waive at least eighteen normal zoning rules for the sole benefit of the new owner of the Exxon station.∞

This hearing promises to be a fun one. We’re expecting to hear the new owner’s hired traffic expert testify that the intersection of Hillside and Main is ok, and can handle more cars and trucks on the road and darting in and out of the Exxon lot.

Please join your friends and neighbors at the hearing on the Exxon convenience store at 7 PM on January 30 at Borough Hall, 54 Fairmount Avenue. (Use the side entrance and take the elevator to the upper level Council Chambers.)

How late will the new store stay open? Will it close at 10 pm, as the applicant’s engineer recently assured TapintoChatham? Or will the store stay open until at least 11 pm, as the engineer admitted under oath at the hearing? (Start at approx. 2:13:05 and 2:50:10, where the engineer contradicts and cannot recall what he told the Tap.)

*The author has chosen to abstain from participating in or voting on this issue in her capacity as an alternate member of the Historic Preservation Commission.

∞ What rules does the new Exxon owner want waived? See p. 195 here:

This is your chance

Are you satisfied with the number of cars and trucks on Main Street?

Would you like to see more vehicles? More crashes?

Did you know our Zoning Board is considering waiving the rules in a way that would probably achieve just that?*


(Yes, the hearing is less than a week before Christmas! No, that doesn’t give residents much chance to ask questions or make comments. Can the Zoning Board postpone the hearing? You’ll have to ask them. Email the Borough Administrator, [email protected])

Don’t you just love driving through the intersection of Main Street and Hillside Avenue, past the Exxon station?

Don’t you just love the narrow, misaligned streets? The challenge of turning left – or even right – without a crash?

Do you think it’s safe for a 12-year-old to cross there alone? Is it even safe for an adult?

Would you like to see more cars and trucks crisscrossing the sidewalk to get gas at the Exxon station? No?

How about a stream of cars and trucks crossing the sidewalk to enter and exit the new convenience store (with bright lights, long hours, probably more litter, noise, and maybe some loiterers) that would replace the friendly car repair shop we’ve trusted for decades – and that currently closes at 6:00 pm?

Our Zoning Board is considering waiving the normal zoning rules to allow the new owner of the Exon station to do just that.

See for yourself, starting at pages 22 and 82:

Check out the latest, starting on page 21:

Wouldn’t that kind of place detract from our Historic District?

Why would they even consider taking such a risk without first correcting the street misalignment that makes that corner so tricky?

The corner indicated in red is not part of the Exxon lot. It is property of the Borough that could be used to better align the streets, improve traffic flow, and likely reduce accidents. (Amateur markup of Borough Tax map sheet 27)

The Zoning Board shouldn’t approve the Exxon proposal absent strong proof that it would serve Chatham Borough in some clear way, and wouldn’t undermine the purposes of our zoning laws or Master Plan.

The hearing on that proposal is set for this Wednesday, December 20. This is your chance to get the facts and have your say.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to make a difference.

  • The author has chosen to abstain from participating in deliberations concerning, or voting on, this proposal in her capacity as an alternate member of the Historic Preservation Commission.

Why does the Borough Council love PILOTS?

Our Borough Council expects each of us to pay our property taxes in full.

So why would the Council grant a developer an exemption from property taxes, and let the developer substitute smaller payments called PILOTs?

Find out at the Council meeting tonight, Monday, 12/11/23, at 7:30 pm, Chatham Borough Hall, 54 Fairmount Avenue. Enter on the north side.