LISTEN: Non-Compliant Fencing Frustrates Margate Code Enforcement

Amodeo, Becker, Blumberg Margate
Amodeo, Becker, Blumberg

Margate. Beautiful homes, manicured lawns and gardens full of brightly colored flowers. It’s a big part of Margate’s appeal; lovely neighborhoods.

Keeping all this beauty up-to-code isn’t easy…. if you’re a Margate Code Enforcement official.

Front-yard fences are not permitted in the City of Margate. Unfortunately, proper enforcement hasn’t been performed in the past.

Margate has approximately 65 homes with non-compliant fencing on their property. 2/3 of those current front-yard fences are illegal. Homeowner had no building permits or zoning approval.

LISTEN: Audio clips from Margate Commissioner Meeting of June 18, 2021.

Margate Fences. June 18, 2021

Margate Zoning Officer, Roger McLarnon: homeowners are erecting front-yard fencing on the weekends. Fences block colorful gardens and greenery.

Margate Planning Board plays an advisory role here. But it’s the 3 elected Margate officials who will need to decide this thorny issue.

Margate Zoning Officer, Roger McLarnon
Margate Zoning Officer, Roger McLarnon

Do we permit fences or not? Margate has a front yard landscape ordinance. Fences would hide the unique pleasures of Margate.

If you drive thru Sea Isle City, you think you’re driving thru a parking lot in North Jersey. Don’t tell Lenny (Mayor of Sea Isle)

Margate Zoning Officer

Fence encroachment on property sidelines. Side-by-side driveway squeeze-play. Problem gonna creep out and get worse.

  • Dogs harming lawn.
  • 200 lb dog must be fenced in?

Commissioner John Amodeo is against Margate front-yard fencing. It does keep animals off of private property, though.

Q: Can some of the non-conforming fences be grandfathered in? What are options?

A: Seek variance, or become compliant. Courts could get tied up, tho.

Q: How does Margate enforce code with existing, non-conforming fences?

A: Notify them all.

Margate Commissioner Amodeo on front-yard fence ban: it will create havoc.

Margate Solicitor, John Scott Abbott
Margate Solicitor, John Scott Abbott

City Solicitor, John Scott Abbott: There may be room for a compromise. ex: Stone Harbor.

Margate Business Administrator Deaney: This is an elected Commissioners decision. It falls on their shoulders in how to regulate. Enforce, or not enforce.

  • 5ft fence needed for 200 lb dog?
  • Some people are brazen. Ignore City ordinance.

Pending New Jersey State law could upend current, local prohibition of front-yard fences.

Rich Patterson, Planning Board Chairman.
Rich Patterson, Planning Board Chairman.

Margate Planning Board Chairman Rich Patterson is against front-yard fencing. So are most of his colleagues on the Planning Board.

Growth of front-yard fencing: all this happened due to lack of enforcement by a city employee.

Ocean City is a wasteland. Ventnor’s a concrete jungle. Margate is different

Margate Planning Board

Fences are being ‘snuck-in’ on the weekends.

Code Enforcement Challenges For Margate

  • Mature trees getting cut down.
  • 3rd floor decks more common.
  • Front-yard fencing prohibition.
Margate-tree-affidavit

14 thoughts on “LISTEN: Non-Compliant Fencing Frustrates Margate Code Enforcement”

  1. Billie Jane Maul

    What’s the problem? Solution sounds simple to me. If the city laws prohibit front yard fencing, then they have to come down. What’s so difficult about that? No conversation, no debate, no bending the law. IT’S THE LAW. GET IT?

    1. Spend time riding streets of Margate with a violation book. When you reach a property with a fence violation, give them time to remove the fence.

      You have computers to keep records and issue fines, notices and violations. It’s done with our taxes. Just DO IT already.

  2. Billie Jane Maul

    It’s also the law that bikes ride WITH moving traffic and obey stops and rules. I love Margate, but I have yet to see a biker stopped for riding the wrong way. Years ago I suggested that all the rules and regulations be included with the tax bills……along with a free beach tag. Good idea? What do you think?

    1. Free beach tags = higher taxes. It’s not that difficult. Buy the tags pre-season at 50% off and stop whining about them.

  3. Does anyone pull a permit? House next door did a full year rehab and not a single permit was posted. Maybe the whole lot of them are on the take.

  4. Our officials are worried about hiding our gardens but they pushed through that ugly miniature golf course in the middle of our pretty town??

  5. No fences equal beauty, but dogs use at will. Perhaps a dog park. Also, dogs are not permitted on the beach yet i watched a guy playing with his dog on the beach then exiting at south Adams. Why is this not enforced either. Sounds like everyone does as they wish because of the lack of enforcement. Sorry!

  6. Things have really gone downhill in margate. 20 years ago Code enforcement made me tear out 12″ of width on my driveway on my own property because it didn’t conform to code. When did this town become so lax? The town planner, Roger Ruben, is sorely missed. Select businesses now rule city hall.

  7. You think the golf course is ugly, take a view of Lamberti’s on Amherst. Talk about improvement? Talk about code enforcement? More likely, talk about money!

  8. Removal of fences (and vegetation) that interfere with sight angles at intersections is particularly important.

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