Margate Commissioners Share Valuable Boardwalk Research

Margatians LOVE the Ventnor Boardwalk

Margate Commissioners have finally offered feedback on the popular ‘Rebuild the Margate Boardwalk’ report.

This past summer, the 3 Commissioners said they’d review the Boardwalk proposal and respond. To date, Mayor Becker & Commissioners Amodeo and Blumberg have refused to endorse a public poll / survey, or town-hall.

They may not want to know how taxpayers really feel about this popular, seashore amenity.

The feasibility of constructing a boardwalk should be decided on its own merits. The Margate Boardwalk project is much more than a dune fix.

A Margate Boardwalk gives homeowners a place to gather. Walk. Sit. Enjoy the ocean view. A much needed town square. Much easier access for an aging population. The ability to actually see the ocean. Imagine that.

A Margate boardwalk would return what over-development has taken away. Open space. A feeling that you’re down the shore.

The following is PART ONE in a series.

Why is Margate City Hall protecting a handful of wealthy insiders?

At issue: a group of homeowners, officials and politicians prefer over-development and over-spending, rather than a better quality of life for all taxpayers.

In the past two years, Margate Taxpayers have been subject to:

  • An amusement park in the middle of town.
  • A proposed Amherst Ave water park.
  • Threat of high rise and hotel development near Lucy the Elephant.
  • Subsidizing 2, half-empty schools.
  • Development on virtually every square inch of Margate.
  • Waiving of site setbacks & minimum parking requirements.
Rebuild The Margate Boardwalk

LEGAL PERSPECTIVE. Rebuilding the Margate Boardwalk.

The following excerpts and concepts were delivered by Margate Mayor Michael Becker, and Commissioners John Amodeo and Maury Blumberg.

NOTE: the following also includes DownbeachBUZZ analysis and commentary. Bull-shit detection provided at no additional charge.

The legal right to construct a boardwalk on the beach area of Margate will depend in significant part upon ownership rights and agreements that run with the land.

Most of the beach area in Margate extending from the existing sea walls to the edge of the water is owned by the City of Margate.

The ownership occurred by deeds primarily from the early 1900’s but in some instances closer to current times. Prior to City ownership both the beach and boardwalk were established by a series of agreements.

The boardwalk was built in the 1900’s or in some areas prior to 1900 and most likely pursuant to written authorization, copies of which we do not have in our City records.

No Boardwalk, but Margate Amusement Parks & High-Rises OK.

The agreements were made pursuant to an Ordinance dated September 16, 1926. These agreements run with the land and specify “the right to maintain the elevated boardwalk as now constructed or hereafter constructed.” The agreements also mention the right to keep the area open for public walk.

A number of properties were placed into title with the City of Margate after 1926. These agreements are superseded by City ownership. However, there remains about 12 parcels not owned by the City of Margate.

NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) by way of partial condemnation, gained the right to build massive dunes on our already healthy beaches.

DEP used the courts to force Margate and those 12 beach front property owners into compliance. Residents still believe Margate administration didn’t do their best to protect Margate. Today, we have an industrialized beach. A dune and beach sewer system that’s way too big. Margate leadership failed the taxpayers.

Glenn Klotz chairs the Margate Boardwalk Committee.

Osborne Beach Club on Osborne Avenue and the Margate Fishing Pier both remained in private ownership and thus were included in the partial condemnation taking.

The DEP and/or Army Corps of Engineers could furnish Margate its title research for the beach. This research will be extensive.

There is likely, a recorded written authorization that allowed the original boardwalk to be constructed on private land. However, if there isn’t an enforceable boardwalk easement and one or more of the beach front property owner contests the use of their land for the purpose of the boardwalk, the problem could be remedied by the partial condemnation similar to what the State of New Jersey did to the City of Margate and the remaining private property owners for the dredging & fake dune project.

The DEP and Army Corps of Engineers would have jurisdiction over the construction of the boardwalk along Margate’s beach.

The current DEP Commissioner is Katherine McCabe. She has publicly spoken about the high priority she gives for public access to state waters. An initial meeting with the DEP could be arranged, same being referred to as a pre-application conference.

A high profile project such as rebuilding the Margate Boardwalk may warrant a meeting directly with Commissioner McCabe.

Mention has been made about the existing easements and rights of the DEP and Army Corps for the storm water piping system. Some concerns have been raised about building a boardwalk over those pipes.

There are a number of communities such as Atlantic City and Ocean City which have boardwalks built over storm water pipes. The storm water pipes in Margate are now considered to be owned by the City of Margate, This ownership issue of the pipes should be confirmed.

The construction of the boardwalk over pipes could be resolved in conjunction with the DEP and Army Corps permitting process.

Many of the properties along beach blocks today did not exist when the boardwalk was in use. Atlantic Avenue was a trolley route and partially paved.

Margate leadership believes a boardwalk is non-essential. Odd way of thinking for 3 politicians in a shore town.

Our 3 Amigos think Atlantic Ave is fine for families. 4 lanes of speeding cars. Crowded bike lanes. Parking in both directions. Elected leadership ignoring fact that Atlantic Ave can be a dangerous place to walk, run, bike or roller skate.

A Boardwalk is safe. Much safer. Shame on Margate Public Safety Commissioner, John Amodeo. And you wanna be Margate’s next Mayor?

Hmmm. Mayor Blumberg. Has a nice ring to it.

39 thoughts on “Margate Commissioners Share Valuable Boardwalk Research”

    1. I am 76 years old and am currently in rehab 3 days a week due to my efforts of climbing over the 14 foot dunes most of the summer. The pain in my right side and right ankle are directly related to the dunes. More has to be done for the older people in Margate who now see the dunes as a barrier to the once free access to our beautiful beach. The boardwalk is only one of many issues that could benefit Margate and will only raise our taxes and may tax many long time residents right out of the community. I do not see it as a priority and wonder exactly what is the motivation for this particular project at this time.

  1. As a home owner with no voting rights and father of a ten year old who wants to ride bikes every weekend morning, I am 100% for the boardwalk as we carefully navigate our way from Washington Av. North to the start of the Ventnor boardwalk and back twice a weekend.

    1. I agree with you 100%, Chuck H. I, too , am an avid biker and Atlantic Ave. bike lanes can’t ever be compared to cycling on a boardwalk. I also have 6-8 grandchildren who would love a safe place to ride their bikes in the summer. Why don’t the Commissioners want to hear the voices of ALL the taxpayers who pay their salaries?

    2. Prior to the dunes we probably would say yes, however , look at ventnor and the shoreline . The ocean has taken it back (all tax payers money; paying for the incompetent core engineers) , no beach now just a cliff. That is what Margate would /could look like . A boardwalk, a cliff and no beach . Look on Facebook of the current condition of ventnor . Maybe that is why Margate administration and homeowners are not too interest . Sad site in Ventnor .

      1. Ventnor’s cliffing is a complicated equation. The BW being constructed as it was is only part of that equation and not solely the cause. Blaming it on the BW to try and conflate that erosion with building a BW in Margate is a reach, to say the least. In Margate, the beach in most of the town is going to grow because of the Project Storm Outfalls system and any event a BW built behind the existing Berm will have absolutely no effect one way or another on the Ocean beach.

  2. Using the term non essential is a way of dancing around this matter. We have plenty of non essential spending going on in Margate.
    I believe a boardwalk will enhance the quality of life for the vast majority of Margate homeowners and visitors.
    This issue should not be brushed under the rug. It is incumbent of our three commissioners to take a poll of ALL taxpayers of Margate.
    If a majority vote yes them it should go to a vote of the voting taxpayers to decide.
    The commissioners represent all of Margate not just a handful of tax payers.
    Mayor Becker, Commissioners Amodeo and Blumberg step up and be our leaders who represent us.
    You may not get the result you want but show the people you represent everyone.
    Keep your word .
    Earn the respect of ALL taxpayers.

    1. Well said, Jay. Speaking for myself, not the Margate BW Committee I found the response to our request to be extremely biased and condescending, to say the least. The Commissioners essentially stepped around their responsibility hereby totally ignoring our companion petition with its 614 Margate taxpayers signatures asking for a poll of the taxpayers on this topic which would lead to a voter referendum if the Majority of the taxpayers approved of the Project. Instead, they assigned the city Government the task of acting as the opposition to the idea in an attempt to, as you said, sweep it under the rug. It’s not going to go away that easily.

      1. You all want Margate to be welcoming to retirees and year around residents. Maybe you will get new people with a more progressive and welcoming environment. Cool beach towns have welcoming public spaces, safe spaces for strollers, runners, skaters and bikers.
        Listening and welcoming opinions of all stakeholders is essential.
        This rude attitude of take the bridge and leave if you don’t like the old way we do things is counterproductive to building a better town.
        I’ve been a summer resident and off season visitor for 60 years, it is quite dispiriting to listen to new ideas be routinely ignored .
        The boardwalk would breath some energy into this town. The three amigos should listen to all constituent voices . A petition with over 600 homeowner signatures should not be ignored. Try to be less micro aggressive and nicer to your neighbors😎

  3. Once again Mr. negative spreads bullshit in the guise of credible news.Yeah “Buzzkill” a boardwalk would be great.Making up stuff to bolster your argument is weak.You insult our intelligence .You’ve made it clear that you are not happy with Margate.You know where the bridge is and I’ll spot ya the buck fifty to use it.I doubt you even live here.

    1. Great comments Michael! Absolutely agree!
      Since when is a potential 10-30 Million Dollar Boardwalk “essential spending”.
      Some people are just clueless.

    2. A buck fifty won’t get you over the bridge . Obviously you underestimate the tax increases for the boardwalk as well

  4. When the 3 corrupt Amigos figure out a way to skim off the top and give the contracts to their cronies, the boardwalk will get built. Wake up folks, the reality is any government controlled project will cost 2X and take 2X time to complete. Eyes wide open!!

  5. After reading the City’s response to the Boardwalk group’s Report it brought to mind an old adage. God would have never have been able to create the Universe in seven days had he he been required to hand his plans over to a bureaucracy first. The City Commissioners not wanting to say no, using the time-honored method pols rely on to kill Projects they don’t like they sent it to a Committee to chop apart for them.

  6. Rebuild the boardwalk. Biking is not safe currently. The whole town will benefit from more outdoor activities. The cost is practically nothing to each taxpayer. It’s a no-brainer.

  7. ok let me see if I can follow this to build a nice path for a bike ride… you need to get ownership rights from the city of margate, 12 unidentified owners of land title, the osborn beach club, and the fishing Pier. If this is not possible you expect the DEP who you have despised, sued and cursed as incompetent power mongers to seek condemnation of all of these owner’s titles in Court. Then the DEP and Army Corp of Engineers, who you have maligned for years, will have to give up their easements so the BW can be built over the pipes in some kind of permitting process you allude to ( plus they will have jurisdiction over the build) and you will make nice with Ms McCabe the head of the DEP in the process. Of course, this doesn’t even address any issues of the cost of the elaborate BW with toilets, footbath, and pavillions the BW report advocates or the impact on effective storm management and costs.

  8. A boardwalk does nothing to line the pockets of the 3 AMIGOS or the ultra wealthy residents that live directly facing the ocean. Approvals, zoning and city approvals are within their money making domain. You want something done it must go through them. There is also a 4th AMIGO. The city lawyer, “Mr. Dumbo” and his over priced city salary does everything possible to make the 3 AMIGOS never wrong.

    1. I live on the ocean in a small condo. I consider myself lucky to be there, but am certainly not ultra wealthy. I am a retired teacher on a pension. So, please do not put all beachfront residents in the same pot. I currently put up with young people under 16 urinating and drinking on the Washington Avenue beach. If there were a boardwalk, I cannot even think what they might be doing under it. I see parents picking them up at 1:00 AM. These kids have no respect for anyone who lives there and obviously neither do their parents, or the curfew would be followed and they would make sure their kids are at home by 10.

  9. Alot of anger and meanness being spewed forth. Can’t people disagree over building a boardwalk without being trashed. Personally not interested in and further disruption to our beaches. Hope I don’t have to leave town because I m not in favor of yet another building project.

  10. Settle down Beavis, Mini golf is not an amusement park. Little loose with your definitions to try and further your agenda.

  11. JLS appears to be the only one that can remember the 3 to 4 years of angst, disruption and animosity among neighbors caused by the dune project. Why would anyone expect a different result if we attempted to build a boardwalk. Law suits, delays, cost overruns and another 2 to 3 years of beach construction. As a year round resident I don’t want 8 months of my year dealing with construction with the end result being higher taxes. Anyone who has ridden a bike or tried to walk on the existing boardwalk during the busy hours, you know this not a leisurely or safe activity.

  12. The past week of high tides and further loss of our beach illustrate the impact of a boardwalk on the oceanside of the dunes. If this would happen during the summer, people would be forced to sit under the boardwalk. The dunes took a chunk of the beach away from public use and now the boardwalk. No thank you.

    1. The boardwalk would NOT be built on the Oceanside of the dunes. Why not read the report to get the facts set forth therein?

  13. OK let me get this straight, we already have bike paths on the streets of Margate.
    Now you want to spend 28 million with an M to put up a speedway. Recently a man was riding his bike in Ventnor, was struck by another biker and caused a Brain bleed (wearing a helmet) broken ribs and several other injuries.
    With it you bring porta potties, bright lights and crime. No thank you. Go ride your darn bikes on the street and maybe you will have a better chance of not having law suits to the city as well as costing more in maintenance, police security and injuries.

    1. bikes generally go at least 12- 15 miles an hour and can be dangerous by definition. Many who ride their bikes in Philadelphia or on the windy roads of the mainline opt to take that risk. There have been lawsuits for various injuries on the Ventnor boardwalk over the years so litigation is another cost to factor into adding a BW in Margate. Also adding public bathroom, showers, footbaths, lighting and Pavillions which is what BW committee advocates in their report, will also increase the volume of Day trippers to the beach perhaps which can open door to more liability and certain volume of traffic both cars pedestrians and buses in addition to bikers.

  14. What a sad mess. Each side of this issue exaggerates to push their position. Just not helpful. It is apparent that the current City administration has little if any interest in a boardwalk, or they would have taken the initiative to pursue it. So, using the power of the people, if there is sufficient interest in a boardwalk, let’s simply use legal channels to obligate the city administration to get input from the public on this matter. I’m sure any attorney worth their salt could easily guide interested parties on this matter. And please folks, no cussing or derogatory comments.

    1. That’s exactly what the Boardwalk Committee has been doing Joel. We have been very thoughtfully going step by step towards the goal of allowing the voters to eventually decide the issue. I can assure everyone that day will eventually happen. We produced our Report to put forth our idea it was not a scientific or an academic study of Boardwalks or of Margate. It appears that the City Administration has little or no interest and has used the city staff to try and counter our work. Actually, what they’ve done is extraordinary in that respect. As someone that spent years fighting the Beach Project, it makes me wonder why the Commission never did the same thing as regards that plan for Margate? Some of them walk around town now proclaiming that they fought the Beach Project but they obviously never bothered to do anything like this. No matter, over the course of the next year we will be busy trying to provide the voters the opportunity to settle this issue once and for all.

  15. While I have my opinions, I typically keep them to myself, however in this instance I hope to be a voice of reason. I’m a full time taxpayer, summer resident and a business owner in Margate. So, I represent three out of the four possible scenarios.
    I don’t know the Mayor nor the other Commissioners. So, I’m looking at this from an unbiased position.
    I understand the desire for a boardwalk, I really do but there are other issues I think need just as much consideration before Margate should invest such a large sum for this project.
    Currently, Margate has approximately 2,600 full time residents but swells to more than 10,000 during the summer. That means that 75% of the taxpayers are non- voting taxpayers yet support most city’s expenses.
    Margate is losing business; their property values are dropping and if this continues the tax rate is going to have to increase. Margate is currently at approximately a 1.6% rate. What happens if it goes to 2.6% or 3.0%? It could happen. Just look at Ventnor and AC. Do you think that will entice more folks to buy in Margate?
    I think it’s quite interesting that the only parking issues we hear about are the commercial ones. Yet on most streets you can’t find a single place to park because the homeowners greedily take up two spaces with one car, just so you don’t park in front of their house or they build a quadplex where a single house once stood. The overbuilding both residentially and commercially have been going on long before this regime was in office and that’s a fact!
    I think a boardwalk is a nice idea. But let’s look at the most successful ones in OC., Wildwood and AC. They all abut or have commercial on them. Is Margate ready for that? Now that’s funny! How will we afford the continued upkeep without revenue coming in? I’m not sure it’s really what the City needs right now. Many businesses were down nearly 50% this summer due to lack of traffic, especially on weekdays. If this continues do you know what, we’ll have? Longport, without the lower taxes!
    Both towns are beautiful, and they should preserve their history and feel but that doesn’t mean that having a stronger and better commercial district are going to ruin it.
    And, for the $10M – $30M estimates, ask yourself two questions. Why is there such a big range and when did any government stay within their budget number?
    If, they intend to spend that money maybe they should designate an area of town to install a commercial, entertainment and event area. Then buy the properties and tear down what is needed to accomplish that. Find ethical developers, control the terms and make sure it’s going to fit the feel of Margate and its residents. I can see that eminent domain lawsuit from here!
    So, which one of you are ready to sell Margate your home at a discount to get all this smart development started?
    If you want a boardwalk hop on in Ventnor and you can ride or walk all the way to the Inlet in AC. I do it every weekend and the extra mileage is good for your health and by the way buy a toll pass, it’s cheaper if you’re crossing the bridge!

    1. A boardwalk would be nice however it would take a huge financial effort from the community.
      The construction, maintenance and problems arising from it would make the dunes project look minimal in comparison.
      As a homeowner in both PA and Margate, I’d like to see more sponsored benches along the two commercial zones on Ventnor Ave.
      It would enhance the areas as a gathering place for all during the day and night. Perhaps a pavilion could be built near the beach for events and concerts. It would require bathroom facilities but would be an ideal gathering spot on summer nights.
      I’m sure that that this plan and use of bike lanes will assure Margate of ideal conditions that should satisfy everyone while maintaining reasonable costs.

  16. When are you all going to realize that everything that is done in any seaside town that is open to the public is DONE FOR THE PUBLIC AND THE TOURIST and not for the residents? And that does not include you as you don’t get to vote for the decision makers. Don’t like it? Tough. Decisions aren’t to be made by part-timers.

    1. See, that is exactly the obnoxious arrogance displayed by many in town that makes it less appealing to come to Margate. I think every taxpayer should have some say. Maybe not equally but some. However, if you would like me to remain silent I will gladly do that as soon as you pay all of my expenses. Better yet, we’ll quadruple your taxes and then all of us part timers won’t have to pay any and we won’t have a right to say anything! P.S. My business isn’t part time. I’m sure I’ll see you at my place this week.

    1. JLS, you’re welcome but I’m just trying to look fairly at both sides and point out areas of concern all of us who love Margate need to consider before we just run blindly in one direction.

  17. Small minds thinking on a small scale. Welcome to Absecon Island. Most of the country is booming in development, growth and appreciation of real estate values.

  18. Here are the real facts:
    1. The 3 Amigos are corrupt and will only do what lines their pockets
    2. It will cost 2X money to build and maintain
    3. It will take 2X time to build.

    Stop bitching at each other, you all sound like a bunch 5th grade girls at the lunch table!

    Eyes wide open!!

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