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Controversial Footpath Could Get Closed to the Public

Chatham Township Committee will hold a public hearing Thursday to release the land to the adjacent homeowners.

A public hearing will be held Thursday on a controversial 700-foot Chatham Township footpath that could be returned to the neighboring homeowners.

The Safe Routes to School Committee previously requested the township-owned passage between Pine Street and Linden Lane be reopened for students in the neighborhood to more easily walk to the middle and high schools as well as Cougar Field on Shunpike Road.

However, the majority of residents on Linden Lane, a private road, have opposed opening the walkway.

Many said at an October meeting their children attend private schools and have no use for the walkway. They also raised concerns of "stranger danger" along the path, teen drinking, and increased likelihood of drownings in Seneca Pond—about 200 feet away from the roads and path.

The proposal to clear the path and open it to the public was placed on hold in October. The Township Committee will now have a public hearing and vote to release the easement to the adjacent homeowners, closing the land to the public.

The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Chatham Township municipal building.
Chatham Examiner April 15, 2014 at 12:51 PM
There are so many more layers to this onion. Why did Carl Woodward let Bailey speak? My guess is he is a stooge for Bailey. Why is woodward involved at all? Chatham has a current attorney, is he afraid to touch this issue? Why was he allowed to call Kathy a handmaiden? Bailey is a rude old man who should have been removed from office on his response to the woman at castle park Why was Ritter's speech pre-written and prepared? Ritter has not shown an independent thought yet. Puzzling how he works in the communication field. He shouldnot have voted for himself to be deputy mayor. He is a stooge backed by the bailey crowd. Isn't a hearing supposed to mean that the Twp Committee is supposed to "hear" both sides? Yes, but decisions are already decided by the committee based on personal agendas Why didn't Sullivan tell Brower to quiet down instead of the crowd? Sullivan does not speak unless Bailey tells him to. Why are pages from the original twp minutes missing? Because they mentioned Bailey Brower and he did not want them included. Does anyone out in the township really care about any of this? No, but they should. The actions of the committee are sketchy at best
resident April 15, 2014 at 01:09 PM
Judging by the active commentary, people do indeed care. Everyone who does care about this issue specifically and the larger issue of the Township Committee acting in the interest of the community as a whole and not for the limited interest of the few should come to the next hearing on the 24th to express their opinions.
sarah mawson April 15, 2014 at 10:59 PM
This is Sarah Fechtner. Regarding the questions about the status of Linden Lane as a private street, here is an excerpt from our attorney's letter. See full letter at http://tinyurl.com/mm49org “Private Street” Issue There is no evidence that Horseshoe Drive and Linden Lane are “private streets.” However,in the event that the proposers of the ordinance assert that Horseshoe Drive and Linden Lane are“private streets” … such status is irrelevant. Even if these streets were private, neither the homeowners or the Township has, …, the right to vacate the easement under the statute or otherwise. On October 22, 2009, when the township committee was discussing the roads leading to another private lake in the township, Mary Ann Fasano asked Mr. Woodward to comment on whether those roads had been accepted. Mr. Woodward responded that they were not private streets and the public’s ability to travel down the roads would not be inhibited whether or not the Township had accepted them.
Resident April 16, 2014 at 07:54 AM
Actually Sarah Mawson/Fechtner, I think you're mistaken. There is evidence the street is "private" and you'll see on many of the deeds/surveys that property lines extend to the middle of the street, and the middle of the private lake (for the houses that are against that lake). I don't know what your attorney is writing about, if he's done his research, or how the Fasano situation is relevant -- I'd ask for a retainer refund! All kidding aside, I think you're right it's irrelevant. When I walk my dog on the road and technically walking through various private properties lines, the local residents generally wave and are very friendly... nobody says scram.
communicate07928 April 25, 2014 at 07:19 AM
I'm sorry, I do not like to speak negatively of anyone, however I was disgusted by Curt Ritter's "speech" at last night's meeting regarding the footpath. He needs to step away from his nonsense argument that keeping the footpath in tact would cost $50,000! This argument takes away from the real issue at hand, which is keeping the entire public interest in mind, not just the lovely folks of Linden Lane. Keeping the path as "status quo" would not require $50K. It would cost $0! I am disturbed that he was elected to office and appointed deputy Mayor. He has done nothing to impress me to date, I have not seen any improvement in communications, every time he addresses the public in Township Committee meetings, he reads from a prepared speech, he does not HEAR what folks have to say, nor does he care.

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