Margate Outfall Drainage Project & The 50 Year Dune Deal

margate dunes outfall pipes

Margate resident Chuck Cavanaugh: I’ve been trying to get a straight answer from the Margate commissioners as to why they signed an agreement with the NJDEP which locks us into this debacle for 50 years. In addition, what makes them think they were authorized to do so considering Margate has an ordinance prohibiting them from doing exactly that, until it passes a city-wide referendum. They do not respond to letters so I asked in public. Long story short, they have no answers.

We lost the DUNEBOGGLE fight (tough to win when city solicitor is working against you) and the damage was done.

Cavanaugh: The citizens of Margate – full and part time – made it crystal clear to the commissioners that we didn’t want them to enter into an agreement with NJDEP and ACOE (Army Corp of Engineers).

We absolutely didn’t want the industrialized outfall pipe system that they propose. Probably no level of any government has ever received clearer and nearly unanimous direction from their constituents.

What did the commissioners do? Exactly the opposite of that direction.

Listen to Dec. 21, 2017 Margate Commissioner Meeting with Chuck Cavanaugh:

Cavanaugh: It’s glaringly obvious the commissioners don’t understand the deal they signed. [see agreement below] It’s 27 pages of Margate agreeing to everything the NJDEP wanted and receiving nothing – that WE wanted – in return. It’s the most one-sided ‘agreement’ you’ll ever see. It’s also insulting. A neutral reader would come away with the idea that Margate had big problems, and NJDEP and ACOE came to the rescue.

Q: What did we get that motivated you to go against what we told you regarding an outfall pipe system?

A: An outfall pipe system.

Q: In light of city ordinance that prohibits doing this prior to city-wide referendum, how’s this legal?

A: We don’t know.

The Margate Board of Commissioners have gone against the clear will of the citizens. We are – contrary to what they’ll you – on the hook for big bucks for ‘replenishment’. We gave up our leverage and received nothing for it.

Chuck Cavanaugh: The citizens spoke loud and clear on this. NO to the outfall pipe system was the message. NO to a long term agreement with the state was the message. What did the commissioners do? Signed a long term agreement with the state and got us an outfall pipe system. No amount of spin can change this. The Margate Board of Commissioners betrayed us.

Glenn Klotz: The real villains in this are Frank Lobiondo and Chris Christie.

Glenn Klotz: That agreement was mostly about the drainage (outfall pipes). Nobody wanted them, but what other alternative did we have? It was either Lake Margate and no beach access every time it rained more than 2 inches ….. or the drainage system and outfalls. It was a rock and a hard place decision.

Klotz: With Frank Lobiondo no longer Chairmen of the Committee in Congress that funds these (beach) projects, the odds are long we’ll be seeing any $ for the beach project anytime soon.

Chuck Cavanaugh: Our Margate City solicitor is a long time dune fan and worked against us at every step of this journey.



FROM 2001: ORDINANCE 2001-14 – Requiring submission to voters of any ordinance approving development of a dunes project in MARGATE CITY.

BE IT ORDAINED by the Board of Commissioners of the City of Margate City as follows:

A. “Dunes Project” shall mean the creation, development, maintenance, and/or preservation of dunes built or located upon the public beaches of the City of Margate City as a part of any beach replenishment project.

B. “Cooperative Agreement” shall mean any application for funds submitted by the City of Margate City to any agency of the state or federal government, or any contract entered into between the City of Margate City and any other agency of federal, state, or local government, relating to a Dunes Project.

Submission to Voters. The Board of Commissioners shall not (i) approve any Dunes Project; (ii) appropriate any funds for a Dunes Project; (iii) enter into any Cooperative Agreement; nor (iv) authorize the acquisition of property or an interest in property, whether by purchase, eminent domain, or otherwise, for a Dunes Project, other than by means of an ordinance duly adopted by the Board of Commissioners, which ordinance shall, by its terms, not be effective until it has been submitted to and approved by the voters of the City of Margate City at an election duly scheduled for that purpose.

All ordinances or parts of ordinances inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed to the extent of such inconsistency.

Partial Invalidity of Ordinance. Should any section, subsection, paragraph, clause, sentence, or other portion of this ordinance be adjudged by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair, or invalidate the remainder of this ordinance.

This ordinance shall take effect on final passage, approval and publication according to law. Introduced: 8-30-2001. Adopted 9-13-2001.

City of Margate City, New Jersey


9 thoughts on “Margate Outfall Drainage Project & The 50 Year Dune Deal”

  1. When are the residents of Margate going to take a stand against this mess on our beaches.
    FATSO is out of office andwe didn’t need to make this deal with the CORE

  2. Time for change????
    When our representatives ignore the constituents it is time to examine who represents us.
    Unfortunstely US is only 23% of the property owners.
    That issue must be addressed too.

    1. Rest assured Jay, if and when the issue of building a new boardwalk in Margate ever comes forward ALL the residents both registered voters and property owners will have a say on the issue in one way or another.

  3. Whatever they do down there can be reversed it’s all just a man made mess, all of it. The problem isn’t that anymore. The problem is that the State took the easement and essentially with it any right for Margate to mess with the Project template and the outfalls. As for blame, that is an almost two decade long story. Let’s just say there’s plenty of it to go around but the primary villains are and always will be Chris Christie and Frank Lobiondo. Both, ignored the clear will of the people of Margate and they did it with a spirit of vengeance.

    1. From comments that I’ve read:
      1-Ventnor is lucky to have a boardwalk to cover water accumulation and thus didn’t need drainage pipes.
      2-Margate now wants a boardwalk.
      3-Margate gave the easements and the right to install drainage pipes to the feds and they are being installed.
      4-There is no purpose in having a boardwalk if we still have the drainage pipes carving up the beaches.
      5-Will approval of a boardwalk stop installation of further drainage pipes and allow us to rip out existing ones?
      6-Or…have we given away that right? To build a boardwalk if we still have the drainage pipes would make no sense.

  4. From GLENN KLOTZ:
    Here’s what the Vendome Outfall looks like at mid-tide today. You can walk around it right now but it’s a deadly water hazard and when it rains it and the four others like it ( planned or under construction) all within .02 miles of each other will spew concentrated street storm water run off into the surf. Better hope next summer’s bathing season is dry folks because these babies are what beach closures are all about an unknown event in Margate before the coming era. This was the Army’s fix for causing massive flooding last summer behind their Project berm. Not a pretty trade off.

    Had we been lucky enough to have a boardwalk like Ventnor’s this dangerous butt ugly thing and it’s four siblings would have been completely unnecessary as the run off would be under the boards and we all would be walking over it on ramps.

    Lucky lucky Ventnor they have a great boardwalk and a great beach sans this kind of hazard. Oh well, you can thank ex-Gov. Christie and our local Congressman Frank Lobiondo for these monsters and the rest of this mess. They were determined to trash our beautiful beach and they did just that. Thanks guys!

    Another possible side effect of these things once their ( all five) built in 2019 summer is that with all of them put together within a mile it will create NJ’s first groin field in 50 yrs. This could possibly cause significant erosion south of Vendome Ave on Margate’s southern beaches. We really won’t know about this possible effect until after all of them are built and we’ve been through a couple of fall-winter and spring seasons. It’s a possibility though. Then we can beg the Feds for sand like all the rest of the 500+ Army Corp. Beach Projects out here.

    EIGHTY TWO million for this?

    So, here’s what they told all of us would be for FREE. Oh wait a min. free really? It’s all being paid by us out of our taxes friends nothing is for free.
    What a bargain, right?

  5. Diana Borek Papadelis: Maybe a compromise on the pipes could be …….one and done!? And move forward on the Boardwalk which is the better solution to this very horrible scheme.

    In my opinion, everyone of those Commissioners and the Mayor should be backing the boardwalk and voting YES! It’s a no brainer in light of the circumstances. I hope there is standing room only at the May 17 th meeting!!

  6. From Dan Gottlieb, Executive Director, MCQBP (2013-2018) >

    Summer is right around the corner, and soon, our little town will be bustling with visitors, locals and summer residents. It’s the time of the year that we wait for all winter with great anticipation and optimism. It is my hope and strong belief that, although our beaches will look different, they will still be our beaches and they will be filled with families, fireworks, surfers, Hobie Cats, ice cream vendors and all the things we love about the “shore.”

    MCQBP was formed several years ago by a great group of concerned people who felt that the beach project would be a redundant/expensive form of protection and detrimental to the way of life described above. Our mission was to collect data and inform Margate voters about the environmental, legal and technical flaws in the Army Corps of Engineers and NJDEP Absecon Island Shore Protection Project, so that Margate’s voters would have a resource (besides the project sponsors) to help them make a decision in TWO referendums.

    By winning those TWO referendums, I believe we succeeded in our mission thanks to the support of countless friends, family and citizens who got behind us. But as the old saying goes, we won the battles but lost the war. And although our victories were remarkable, the State and the previous Governor ultimately determined the outcome. There was an enormous amount of Federal funds earmarked for this project that was awarded to private contractors and the political pressure was just too much to overcome.

    So now what? The project is all but finished. It’s not going to be reversed by us. Only Mother Nature can do that at this point. So, of course, there are still many opinions and many different ideas that people have the right to discuss but those topics need to find another forum as the original intent of this group and it’s goals have long been achieved.

    Our mission did not fail. For that, I have to thank MCQBP’s founding members. Glenn Klotz, Sharon Simon and Vaughan Reale… we are very different individuals with strong opinions, but we made it work. So many volunteers who walked with us door to door during our referendum campaigns….too many to name..THANK YOU! My brother, Rodger Gottlieb…you were invaluable to us! I can’t thank you enough!

    So this post will stay up for the weekend and then this group will be archived on Facebook for reference only. Lively discussions on new topics will hopefully continue on some of the existing community groups on FB.

    In closing, it is my hope that a new narrative start to take shape. Let’s enjoy the upcoming summer and all the great things about Margate. Let’s walk on the beach, swim with our kids, eat subs with our friends at sunset, watch fireworks and everything else we do that makes summer so special because you only get so many summers!

    See you on the beach,

    Dan Gottlieb
    Executive Director, MCQBP (2013-2018)

  7. Sadly, I concur with Chuck. The City it appears violated it’s own ordinance, of which I was instrumental in writing with Judge Steven Perskie in the summer of 2001, as a member of D.U.N.E.. I believe, the present Commission should now go back and do the right thing and rescind the 2001 ordinance per State law and then vote to join the Beach Project as did Ventnor and Longport’s Commissions. If they don’t then they should go ahead with a referendum as the ordinance REQUIRES and allow the voters to decide whether to join or not. In the mean time, any further construction of outfalls should be stopped!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top