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$2.2 Million in Vacant Lots Could Be for Sale in Boro

If sold, the lots could bring in thousands in local tax revenues, municipal engineer said.

Vincent J. DeNave worked with Elizabeth Gill, one of Chatham Borough's high school interns, to create inventory of six vacant lots which could potentially be developed for possible sale.

DeNave and Gill presented the six properties, along with their assessed values, square footage, photographs and further details to the Chatham Borough Council Monday.

Gill and DeNave used tax maps and tax-assessed values from 2011 to estimate that together, the six properties could net about $2.2 million. The lots being considered:

  • 184 Center St., which is assessed at $343,400
  • 83 Chatham St. (corner of Lafayette Avenue), which is assessed at $424,400
  • 57 Watchung Ave. (corner of Girard Avenue), which is assessed at $300,200;
  • 72 N. Hillside Ave. (corner of Weston Avenue), which is assessed at $375,800;
  • 62 Yale St. (dead-end street), which is assessed at $331,800;
  • and a corner lot at 39 Front St./16 Walnut St., which is assessed at $508,800. 

If they can be sold, Council President James Lonergan said each property could add between $12,000 and $13,000 to the municipal tax revenue.

Most, but not all, of the properties meet the footage requirements for building in their respective neighborhoods. The ones which do not, such as 83 Chatham St. and 57 Watchung Ave., would require variances before any construction could begin.

Other lots, though, have more than enough space to begin construction. 62 Yale St., for example, has 11,760 square feet and is located in a zone that requires 9,300 square feet.

The property on Walnut St. has 26,872 square feet, nearly three times the required footage of 9,300. However, DeNave said, "I wouldn't recommend more than one house" since "we really don't have the frontage" for more than one development on that property.

There is also a sewer line running under the property, so the borough would need an easement to prevent any construction on or near the sewer line.

In each case, however, DeNave said any home constructed would likely fit in with other houses in the neighborhood.

Many borough homes in the neighborhoods listed above were constructed on narrow lots, but manage to conform with the borough's requirements for home construction. These include ratios of housing floor plans, compared to the entire size of the lot, and height limits placed on homes based on the floor spaces.

When councilmen expressed concern about how narrow some of the lots are, DeNave said "I wouldn't move forward with them [and include them in the presentation] unless I felt like we could put a reasonable-sized house there."

pleasehavesense July 12, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Does anyone recognize that our schools are overcrowded by the existing children and that it will cost us alot more than the incremental tax revenue when we have to start expanding our schools again!
Chathamhouse July 15, 2012 at 07:20 PM
The town has water drainage issues in many home in these areas. Now the water will collect and cause more flooding for the homes that surround the lots.
Duncan Munchkin July 16, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Has Chatham Borough always used high school students for municipal planning, because it kind of looks that way. What next...advertising on manhole covers?
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