Margate Planning Board Accused of Spot Zoning

Planning Board & Zoning Laws

The Margate Planning Board has been accused of misinterpreting local zoning law. That’s not so unusual in the world of Real Estate zoning.

But this time, the accusation is coming from the vice-chairman of Margate’s Planning Board, Mike Richmond.

Surprising 7-1 vote against site plan #2. The re-development of a property formerly known as Liang’s Chinese Restaurant, aka Billy Ho’s at corner of Douglas and Ventnor Ave.

Richmond vs Patterson

May 25, 2023

Mike Richmond was the only ‘YES’ vote. Listen to audio clips.

Selective enforcement of local zoning law?

Even though the final site plan conforms to local zoning law, a majority of Margate’s Planning Board just didn’t like the plan application. Not in ‘spirit’ of master plan.

Margate Planning Board
Conforms with local zoning law.

Margate Planning Board Vice-Chairman, Mike Richmond:

  • ‘Denying approval would place Margate in legal jeopardy’
  • ‘Application conforms with zoning and current ordinance’
  • ‘You just can’t spot zone’
  • ‘Let’s not start making rules up on a whim’

Margate Planning Board accused of unlawful spot zoning by Board Vice-Chairman.

In a designated Margate business district, re-development requires a mixed-use property. Ex: residential units over commercial spaces.

Margate Planning Board cancelled vote prior to election:


Ultra-fast talking (often unintelligible) attorney Chris Baylinson highlighted multiple commercial properties that were recently approved with all parking requirements waived. This could be seen as selective enforcement of current zoning law in Margate.

Listen to former Margate Mayor Vaughn Reale discuss the Planning Board on WPG Radio. Early May 2023.

Margate Nepotism

Planning Board Lack of Transparency

Social media comment: When big decisions are being made, why are meetings so difficult to participate in? Especially for non-voting 2nd homeowners that make up 75% of tax base?

Margate’s Planning Board still blocks live video stream of meetings via ZOOM. Remote commenting is also prohibited.

Margate Mayor Mike Collin’s father is on the Planning Board. Residents want Collins to live up to his campaign promise of a more transparent government using Zoom video streaming and remote public comment.

Margate Planning Board

Margate Planning Board:

  • Richard Patterson, Chairman
  • Mike Richmond, Vice Chairman
  • Michael Collins, Mayor
  • Tom Collins, Mayor’s Designee
  • Jim Galantino, Construction Official
  • Michael Cristaldi
  • Margaret Guber-Nulty
  • Craig Palmisano
  • Remy Pelosi
  • Steven Jasiecki
  • Drew Campbell
  • Michael Ruffu

12 thoughts on “Margate Planning Board Accused of Spot Zoning”

  1. I hope the new administration keeps their campaign promise about transparency and Zoom meetings. Where are they? Easy enough to do.

    Where is Citizens Advisory Council? Is Planning Board out of control?

    Tom and Mike Collins on the Planning Board! Yikes. Nepotism. Who is managing Margate?

    Should we have a separation of Planning and Zoning Boards? I say yes! Let’s keep those campaign promises.

    1. Joe Di Girolamo

      No it makes more sense to keep the Zoning and planning together
      We a small community compared to large townships and cities
      They’re more new development larger communities
      We are on a small island and just one little place

  2. New Jersey and you…Perfect Together.

    I am sure if you did family/friend trees in many of the over 300 municipalities in New Jersey that you would be amazed at how many family and friends are employed within a municipality. Not to mention the other “volunteer” board positions, etc.

    Margate has been like this for decades and decades.

    Other than civil service testing for police and fire positions, where you will see some “outsiders” able to get hired, it is the same, old tired story.

    However, even with civil service testing, they still find a way to hire who they want in the police and fire as well as promote who they want, etc.

    And most are all laughing all the way to the bank with their salaries, pensions and health benefits in a small municipality where they do not even do that much actual work…

  3. Ethical Builder

    Margate Planning Board is highly unethical. They only get away with stuff like this because majority of taxpayers don’t vote here.

    1. Just another example of the good old boy/girl network.

      Most are not in these “volunteer” positions from the goodness of their heart.

      Follow the money connections, it rarely lies…

  4. In the past, you have published articles about over-development in Margate. Now when the Planning Board admits past mistakes, you publish a negative article?

    We are rapidly losing commercial properties to oversized development that will increase parking problems. As a full time resident, I’m happy to see Planning Board finally pushing back.

    I’m tired of out-of-town developers raping and pillaging Margate for their own personal financial gain.

    What will happen if all restaurants decide to do the same?

    Out of proportion residential units over a token storefront that will most likely end up as residential?

    Remember Barrels? Try to get a Steve and Cookies reservation.

  5. Do you locals actually hear yourselves with your melodrama and serial exaggeration? You really sound childish and ignorant. The last 2 days alone have brought comments on different articles such as references to development as “tragedy”, “raping and pillaging”, plummeting property values from windmills and every other doom and gloom scenario one can conjure.

    The days of tiny single family properties and 70s-80s are long gone. They aren’t coming back. And in reasonable fair balance (see, you can do that in comments…) new construction and development needs to be checked, more consistent in planning and consistency in codes/standards enforced.

    But if it’s as horrible (sarcasm) as many of the elderly locals want to make it out to be with their comments, then by all means MOVE – even if just for your sanity as some of you seem truly miserable. Heck, you’ll even make a ton of money.

    Somehow we’ll find a way to carry on without you just fine, thanks.

  6. Year round resident

    Bruce: I was at the Planning Board meeting last month. The plan presented for the previous 100% commercial property (formerly Liang’s Restaurant) was to have:

    — 1800 sf of commercial property at street level consisting of 2 spaces at 900 sf each.
    — 8400 sf of new residential development consisting of 4 townhouses of 2100 sf each with 4B starting starting on 2nd level and going up;
    — 10200 sf total of new mixed use resulting in less than 20% of commercial and more than 80% new residential development where there was none.

    The ratio seemed out of balance.

    (The proposed new mixed use development included 17 off-street parking spots with 1 being a handicap space for a development for the 4-4B townhouses and the 2 commercial spaces.)

    While there are no statutes about what percentage of new mixed use developments have to be between commercial and new residential, the proposal of morphing the Ventnor Ave facing prime commercial space to less than 20% commercial within the CBD that was 100%, was clearly an imbalance.

    Perhaps the developers might reconsider their proposal and come back to the Planning Board with a more reasonably balanced plan for the mixed use space. Might a more equitable balance of mixed use development in the CBD be something to consider?

    1. I appreciate the balance and the detail/context you provided. Truly a rarity on here amid pure emotion, hyperbole and assumptions.

      I think there are reasonable middle grounds they can be found, but in these times it’s hard to find people willing to think that way.

  7. Second homeowner

    FEMA requires new construction to be 14 feet high. Most new homes are 2.5 stories above 14 foot elevation. Many older homes are 2.5 stories high and have a staircase that may only be a few feet above ground.

    Flood insurance is higher if your property is not adequately elevated. Many of the “charming“ homes have had flood damage.

    Margate Planning Board requires 3 off-street parking spots for new construction with at least 4 bedrooms. Typically it’s a one or two car garage and a driveway or a parking pad.

    Parking issues in the summer aren’t new. Many of the older homes have limited off street parking and I’m sure that a lot of the time the owners take up spots on the street and let their guests use their off street spots.

    The parking congestion isn’t from just the big homes. Parking is limited in the summer by family and guests of people with every size home.

    Margate and Longport require new home owners to sign notarized non-conversion form that is filed with the Atlantic County Clerk. It limits the ground floor indoor space to a garage, entry foyer and storage area.

    Property can be inspected annually with notice and there are fines for not complying.

    Realtors and builders are blamed for being greedy. However, owners of older homes don’t have to sell their property at high prices.

    Agenda of Planning board and associated documents with each property being evaluated is posted in advance on the Margate Municipal site.

    I would love to have meetings on ZOOM, but if there is a proposal that you think will have a negative impact on your property and quality of life you can get in a car or get on a plane and make the meeting.

    If it’s really that important you can let everyone at the meeting know the effort you went to which shows you think it’s a major issue and endorses your comments.

    There was a property before the Board that was 2 houses from mine. I had concerns about the setback and was going to leave work early to make the meeting. When I read the proposal and plans I saw that it did not effect me and didn’t go.

    One last thought.

    People are worried about windmills effecting their beach view. It is expected that the windmills will only be visible 4-5 days per year when the sky is clear enough. If people are so worried about the aesthetics, how about complaining about all the prop planes and their advertisements that fly overhead and make noise all summer.

    By the way, if the windmills help global warming, then maybe the weather wouldn’t be as severe, flooding would be less common and maybe someday the houses wouldn’t have to be so high.

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.