Margate Planning & Zoning Board: Creative Interpretation of Building Codes

Margate Planning & Zoning Board
Margate Planning & Zoning Board

What’s it like dealing with the Margate Planning and Zoning Board? Glad you asked.

Listen below to some audio clips from recent Margate Planning and Zoning Board meetings.

Wow. During the APRIL 2019 meeting, a member of the Margate Planning & Zoning Board actually said this: ‘The condo association are all out of towners. I don’t really care if they approve it or not. We’re (the ones) living here.’ LISTEN >>

The Margate Planning and Zoning Board is primarily determined by Mayor Becker. He picks most of the board members. Six Margate citizens are appointed to the Planning & Zoning Board by Mayor Becker.

Middle: Mayor Michael Becker

Your Latest Downbeach News from Margate

Notable: Mayor Becker’s brother-in-law is Tom Collins, who’s the Mayor’s designee on the Margate Planning and Zoning Board. Collins owns Colmar Hardware, where Mayor Becker works.

Social Media Feedback: Mayor Becker, by ordinance, wields incredible power with the Margate Planning & Zoning Board. Becker has substantial influence over the Margate School Board too. With growth of 2nd homeowners, does this create a divisive environment between voters and non-voters?

Should we develop every last inch of Margate? Squeeze out every ratable dollar possible?

Becker ultimately shares is responsibility for actions and/or errors of Margate’s Planning and Zoning Board. A lack of proper code enforcement?

Resident Joe Clearkin. His Recent Experience With The Margate Planning & Zoning Board:

What would you do if your neighbor’s property didn’t comply with current building codes?

See what happens to Joe Clearkin of Fulton Ave in Margate. New construction next door to Joe, featured a non-compliant deck height, 2-feet higher than code allowed at that time.

Summary: Creative interpretation of city code & ordinance. Even though an error was likely made, it’s easier to run out the clock on disputes. Just slow walk the issue til a 20 day period has expired.

Clearkin feels that the City of Margate selectively enforces building & zoning code. City code officials, along with solicitor John Scott Abbott & Richard Deaney the Administrator, were not helpful in a timely manner. Efforts to develop a fair and equitable deck code have been thrown out the window. The rear deck is set at elevation 13.0, rather than 10.67 as code dictates. That deck is now a ‘non-conforming’ deck to the code in place at time of permitting.

Full Exchange Margate Planning Board DECK Ordinance May 20, 2019

Here’s how homeowner, Joe Clearkin, sees it: When members of the Margate Planning and Zoning Board began attacking my character and occupation, it was clear they were out to protect zoning officers [ Roger McClarnon & Jim Galantino ] for their improper permit.     

Zoning Officer Roger McClarnon and Solicitor John Scott Abbott

When deck construction began on 3/4/19, and I saw the height of the deck extending above the masonry piers. I immediately notified the builder of my concerns. I contacted the City on March 8 2019, yet they took no action. They responded on March 27, 2019. In their opinion, the deck was at the proper height, per city code.

The City of Margate purposely delayed responding to my complaint. My efforts to follow the administrative process to remedy the non-compliant construction were held against me. The City delays in responding were rewarded. 

Clearkin: why do Margate officials continue with misleading deception to residents? The deck was built 2 feet, 4 inches higher than the code at time of permitting allowed. From their own liability standpoint, Margate wasn’t going to let an appeal be heard.

Margate denied the appeal, stating 20 days had expired. This isn’t the first time Margate used a delay tactic.    

The City of Margate has decided that bigger, higher and wider is the way to go. Without regard for existing owners or written codes. 

Clearkin: The Margate City Administration is supporting and condoning code officials who are not doing their job. These conscious errors and mistakes will only continue.

Margate Planning & Zoning Board

  • Richard Patterson – Chairman
  • Michael Richmond – Vice Chairman
  • Michael S. Becker – Mayor, Commissioner of Public Works
  • Tom Collins – Mayor’s Designee
  • Jim Galantino – Building Inspector
  • Michael Cristaldi – Board Member & Zoning Officer.
  • Joe DiGirolamo – Board Member
  • Margaret Guber Nulty – Board Member
  • Despina Hess – Board Member
  • Craig Palmisano – Board Member
  • Remy Pelosi – Board Member
  • Clem Wasleski – Board Member
  • Ron Gruppo – Board Member

14 thoughts on “Margate Planning & Zoning Board: Creative Interpretation of Building Codes”

  1. The Mayor controls too much with no oversight. Margate, according to the State of NJ, is to have their own ethics oversight committee.

    Why did our current sitting commissioners pass an ordinance in 2015 to abolish this much needed group. They also abolished a citizens advisory board. They never notified the state ad they are required to do and now our city is doing what they want when they want.
    Not good!

  2. Becker is too old, ill and totally abusing his power with his blatant nepotism and no term restrictions. He recently, sneakily appointed his wife to the cushy position of Tax Collector! At her age? Haven’t they gotten enough money from us?

    Enough! Margate residents have been lied to and ignored for too long. We need to do what West Wildwood did to its mayor after similar violations; they had him removed from office. Margate needs younger, non-selfish, non-self-serving commissioners who honestly care about Margate and the downward path it is headed in.

  3. Have to agree with all of the comments so far. Sadly nothing here surprises me – it angers and upsets me, but not surprised. Thanks to the recent election, things most likely won’t improve. Such dishonesty and nepotism is a disgrace.

  4. WOW. Listening to the tapes. That is not “creative interpretation”. That is actual criminal behavior by that board.

    It was far from professional behavior by a planning board that claims to :”fairly and openly administer the requirements for development in Margate as set forth in the Master Plan and the Land Use Ordinance, Chapter 175 of the City’s Codes.”.

  5. When a public official makes such a bad, callous and self centered comment regarding his dislike of ‘Out of towners’, it’s time for that person on the board to be asked to resign. That person needs to resign .

    Are you ok with an official having that attitude? It is not whining, it is a public demand for removal of that board member. If nothing is done then that is Margate publicly condoning that attitude.
    Time to go!

  6. The utter disrespect that the board chairman , board members and city employees display toward applicants on a monthly basis starts at the top . The so called City Leaders foster this shameful behavior and continue with the same board appointments year after year .

  7. Wait… Margate makes up the rules as they go along in the best interest of the Nepotism Board and Friends? IF I/we thought detailing and calling out the facts of previous decisions and non-decisions that were completely contrary to the best interest of the Rules, regulations, common sense and code enforcement- we would gladly speak up. Just not reality with the present Government…

    In Other news: Water is wet…..

    1. Corruption in plain sight! They don’t care about any rules or codes. It’s all about how much money they can steal, end of story.

  8. Becker appoints the board, Collins owns Hardware Store that gets all municipal City Business purchases. Hardware store employs the mayor, hardware store relies on builders on the board and other builders for off-season business.

    Builders are buddy-buddy with code officials, real estate agents on the board rely on growth for increased sales as approved by planning and zoning, attorneys get billable hours based on board decisions.

    Looks like incestuous Corruption from top to bottom.

  9. Why don’t we find an alternate source of purchasing supplies that Colmar Hardware sells? They’re enriching their pockets from the people who don’t live here all year long.
    Why is it that these so called “out of towners” pay as much or more than full-time residents. We deserve the same consideration.

    With all the new construction going on, and the increase of the value of all Margate houses. Thus leads to increased ratables, thus leading to more tax revenue for the city of Margate


    All of us who live in Margate – both full-time residents and “out of towners”, want to keep Margate the town we envisioned when we bought – not another WILDWOOD.

    Our family loves living in Margate – keep the reasons we love living here alive.

    The ‘out of towners’ probably pay as much or more TAXES then the full time residents… and as such… are to be considered, not belittled.

  10. It’s a well known fact that if you are going before Planning and Zoning you better be sure you are buying your kitchen and bathroom from COLMAR , that way you will insure that Collins will push hard for your approval

  11. My opinion doesn’t matter I pay my taxes and have no say in what happens. The state needs to step in and change the rules if not then one day no one will want to buy shore properties

  12. My home was built in the late 1930’s. It is a classic Georgian build which we work hard to maintain and keep the character of the Margate that used to be. Looking at the Parkway now it is just a shame all the old original homes have been torn down and become skyscrapers. Why can’t these old home be renovated and keep the original character of Margate much like St. Leonard’s track.
    Who wants to live next to a house that is four stories high with four balconies and you are looking at a wall.
    Applying for more than one variance and leaving the neighborhood with a house with no architectural value.
    Yes, it is time for Becker to move on and all his family. Let’s keep the character of the Old Margate.
    No more four story homes.

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