Approximately 200 were in attendance at the latest Margate Homeowners Association meeting on Saturday morning, June 29 at Ross School. Through a show of hands, almost half were first timers to a MHA meeting.
President Jay Weintraub addressed the crowd, along with VP. Marc Alch and other MHA directors. They brought everyone up to speed on the MHA’s accomplishments over the past 12 months.
Rich Helphant, Director of The Save Lucy Committee since 2000, addressed the Margate Homeowners Association.
Helfant: “In my heart, I feel the non-profit should own the monument”. WATCH VIDEO >
- Helphant provided a history of Lucy the Elephant, and her likely future.
- Over 130,000 visitors to Lucy each year.
- $500k in tour ticket sales, donations, gift shop & snack bar lease revenue. This keeps Lucy running.
- Lucy, now 138 yrs old, is expensive to run, maintain and manage.
- New, proposed lease with updated terms and conditions presented to both parties on 6.28.19.
Looks like Lucy the Elephant could soon be, officially owned by the City of Margate.
Helphant: Lucy can’t be part of any real estate deal without consent of the Save Lucy Committee Board of Directors. As part of any deal, the Margate Commissioners will appoint 5 new board members. Comment: Could this be step #1 in diluting the board?
Skepticism remains. Will a high-rise condo hotel eventually be built within this so-called ‘overlay’ zone?
Audience comment: Last year, did Margate Commissioner, John Amodeo, suggest that Ventura’s won’t be there next year? Amodeo vehemently denies saying that. Watch video above for Helphant’s response.
If approved by both sides, a new Lucy lease will be a 20 year term… with 5 year windows to tweak agreement if necessary. This helps protect ability to get grants, and other types of subsidy.
While the current Lucy lease expires Dec. 31, 2019, Director Rich Helphant’s contract expires a year later on Dec. 31, 2020. Helphant hopes to be re-elected and retained by the board.
MHA President Jay Weintraub floated an interesting concept: An association of associations. Sharing best practices between shore town homeowner/taxpayer groups.
- Going into year #2, MHA membership continues to grow. 365 dues paying members so far.
- Bikes racks… hopefully by later this summer? Both Ventnor & Margate painfully slow with this simple amenity.
- Speeding issues. Not enough tickets being written. Pedestrian safety at risk.
- Signs for each lifeguard stand. Make it easier to identify location on beach. Kinda like an address.
- No smoking beach enforcement. Virtually non-existent. Why no signage?
- Amherst safety issues. Two-way traffic too crazy. Should Amherst go back to one-way?
New Margate Police Chief, Matthew Hankinson, was well received as he took questions from the crowd.
MHA Mission: help Margate be a better place to live and visit and a stronger and louder voice for all of Margate’s Homeowners and renters.
Margate Homeowners Association board members.
- Marc Alch, 1st Vice President
- David Grossman, 2nd VP, full-time resident
- Irv Schultz, Treasurer, full-time resident
- Justin Abate, Secretary, full-time resident
- Bob Davis, Trustee
- Emily Zaidan, Trustee, full-time resident
- Anthony Merendino, Trustee, full-time resident
MHA met with the President of the Avalon Taxpayers Association to learn more about what they do. MHA will soon meet with West Wildwood’s association to see how all these types of groups can work together. Next up: meeting with the homeowner associations of Ocean City, Brigantine, Sea Isle City, etc.
MHA looking to form an ‘association of associations’. Include as many NJ associations as possible. Create a central pool of funds to retain an attorney.
Note: Ventnor & Longport don’t have homeowner / taxpayers associations…yet. Neither town records and posts proper audio from municipal meetings.
Ten US states allow 2nd homeowners to vote in their locality…. for local elections only. MHA would like to help change the NJ state constitution and allow this type of voting. This will take many years, money and patience. MHA is willing to spearhead this undertaking.
MHA SUCCESS STORY: The remember the controversial ‘hotel overlay’ ordinance of last Fall? MHA supported over 300 people pushing back against the 3 Margate commissioners. The ordinance was ultimately pulled by all three commissioners. For now. Proof that the MHA has a strong, collective voice.
Recently, the MHA reached out to Margate Commissioner, John Amodeo about treacherous street crossings and speeds on Atlantic Ave. Still waiting for answers from Commissioner Amodeo.
The new, no-smoking law is not being enforced on the Margate beaches. The 3 commissioners say they don’t have enough personnel to enforce this NJ State law. Instead, Mayor Becker wants people to just be aware of the law, and be courteous of others.