Margate Zoning Battle; Over-Development, Housing Density, Parking.

margate zoning mclarnon
Margate Zoning Officer, Roger McLarnon

Listen to podcast: With a finite amount of land along the shores of Margate, it’s easy to see why homeowners do everything they can to maximize their little slice of paradise. Too often, zoning rules are bent, blatantly ignored or misunderstood.

Notes and audio clips from recent Margate Planning Board meeting of July 28:

Homeowner scolded for pavers by Planning Board. Ratting out neighbor for alleged, illegal kitchen in garage. Owner knew of land use violation. Real Estate lawyer wife not happy with hubby. 30% of property must have vegetation/natural grass.

Listen:

Paver Problems

Margate City vs homeowners looking to maximize their Downbeach property.

How big of a porch do you really need?

Listen.

Massive Front Porch

3rd floor decks in back? Privacy issues. How many really want them? Best to ask for variance, says zoning officer.

Margate Planning Chairman Rich Patterson on 3rd floor, rear decks: Do they want to see sunsets or see Mike (Cristaldi) naked?

Zoning Officer Roger McLarnon not in favor of 3rd floor decks in rear of house. Some on Planning Board see decks as ‘safe haven’ in case of fire. Listen:

Rear 3rd Floor Decks
margate planning board
Margate Planning Board

Still under consideration: 3rd floor decks anywhere. No longer just for water front properties. Maybe you get a choice; front or back? For now, most homeowners granted variance for their proposed 3rd floor deck.

So called ‘Lighthouse’ properties in Margate.

Tall, thin homes built on small lots. Contributes to parking issues, unwanted density. Small lots with bigger homes: we end up with ‘lighthouses’

Consider: If Margate lots are less than 40 ft wide…no 3rd floor.

Lighthouse Homes

We can’t stop people from breaking the law. More illegal conversions. Homeowners must sign non-conversion agreements. More inspections coming.

6 Bedrooms and 5 bathrooms are now common in new construction. Elevators. Pools. 3rd floor decks. Less set back from property line. Generally, builders and real estate execs prefer larger homes with plenty of bedrooms and bathrooms.

FAR, Floor To Area Ratio: total sq footage of livable space. Add up sq ft of all floors. How does Margate slow trend of high number of bedrooms?

Zoning Officer Roger McLarnon: Tight little neighborhoods. Seems like every new house has 5-6 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms.

Margate Planning & Zoning Chief Rich Patterson: Crazy in all neighborhoods. We’re currently rewarding smaller lots with greater lot coverage. That’s wrong.

NOTE: Front yard fences are still prohibited. Non-compliant fencing still a problem.

Zoning Officer, Roger McLarnon: Consider revising building coverage in all city wide, single family zones.

Margate Becker Amodeo Blumberg
Abbott, Becker, Amodeo, Blumberg, Dennis.

Homeowners pushing for front yard fencing, wider curb-cuts for driveways, less vegetation to maintain, build tall on smaller lot sizes and frontages.

Curb cuts for off-street parking. Properties are permitted a 10 ft maximum. Steve Jasecki and Mike Cristaldi were the only Margate Planning Board members in attendance that wanted a 12 ft curb cut for driveways. They lost on that vote. Listen:

Driveway Curb Cuts
margate planning zoning
Jim Galantino, Construction Official

NOTE: 75% of Downbeach home owners (tax base) have virtually no influence on elected officials in Margate, Ventnor or Longport. This majority of 2nd homeowners do not vote in South Jersey. Many vote in taxpayer friendly Florida where they keep their primary residence.

Just a few years ago, the Margate Planning Board, hand-selected by Mayor Michael Becker, was tasked to attract more year-round residency and retail. Affordable housing was also on a short list of ‘nice to haves’.

Some beach towns have built private mini-mansions on every scenic parcel. Hard to see water. No place to drop a line and fish. Can’t easily launch a boat on a public dock. Why are Jersey shore towns building on every square inch of their city?

23 thoughts on “Margate Zoning Battle; Over-Development, Housing Density, Parking.”

  1. I don’t understand why the large percentage of second homeowners don’t get together and change the law, that would allow them to vote. They pay taxes but can’t vote? I believe there is truly something wrong with that picture.

    1. Because then corporations et al would do it too. Do you want China buying 51% of Margate and then controlling it? China can afford it.

      1. This is about second homeowners who make up vast majority of tax base wanting a say in local government. Especially when locals are so apathetic in voting.

    2. You do realize the second homeowners just can’t “change the law” themselves, right? It would have to be voted on my the very same full time residents who can’t even align together and vote for a different leadership team. And even if the law were to change, the second homeowners would still have to exercise their right to vote. That’s a whole lot of assumptions in your one post.

    3. When the owners of the second homes bought these homes, they knew the law in regard to voting. New Jersey, as well as Margate has never allowed non residence voting rights. If you live in another town in New Jersey and have a second home in Margate, should you be able to vote in both towns? This would allow a select group of people to vote twice for Governor and state issues. Twice voting on County issues as well as local issues in both locations. A very bad idea. Congratulations on being an owner of a first and second home. If you want to vote in Margate, make Margate your primary residence.

    4. Changing the law to allow second home owners to vote in a local election must be done at the state level. And, do you think for a minute that the three amigos, whose positions as Margate commissioners would be on the line, would support it? They would be out on their keisters in a heartbeat.

    5. They can vote if they want to change their residence to Margate. No one is entitled to vote where they don’t live. They can contribute within contribution limits set by law, they can come and speak at public meetings. People are not entitled to have 2 votes.

  2. – Why have we lost parking spaces on either end of each block in our shopping areas?
    – Has any discussion/decision taken place to repair our service road between Mansfield and Vendome Avenues? Many walk in this area year round, and there are many holes, drop-offs and humps of blacktop, making it very dangerous for those walking/biking in the area. Also, has any consideration been taken to add benches near our fountains where people might rest to break from walking in our beautiful parkway section?

    1. Seriously, you don’t get why you’ve lost parking spaces on the ends of blocks in shopping areas for “yellow areas”? They are there to help make the crosswalks be open and clear, and to allow for visibility at intersections. The closer parking is to the corner, the more dangerous it is to cross and the harder it is to see cross traffic. Now, they just need to enforce the parking laws so the entitled don’t park illegally there…

    2. You’ve lost parking spaces at the end of streets because entitled idiots were parking in crosswalks and often up to and including into the intersections themselves. This not only makes it dangerous for pedestrians, but blocks nearly all visibility at intersections. Sorry that safety gets in the way of your convenience… Next steps, police need to issue the tickets for those who do park in yellow curbed areas and crosswalks…

  3. What’s the current scoop on finishing Lamberti’s ? ? ? Will it EVER happen? Will that be turned into HOUSING and further complicate the parking (density)? EYE YIY YIY!!!!

  4. For those people that want to vote because they have a second home It’s just not possible to vote twice during elections
    Your primary residence is your voting place It’s plan and simple.
    If you don’t like where your second gone is move

    1. They want to vote because local idiots like you are asleep at the wheel, don’t exercise their right to vote and have an inherent hatred of the second homeowners. If that offends you, you’re welcome to decline our tax dollars or more as well.

  5. Margate Charlie

    As I said before, If it wasn’t for the second home owners tax money, Margate would not be able to support any public works, trash, police or fire department. There would only be two open businesses on the island, Robert’s and CVS pharmacy.

    90% of those folks paying for beach tags are second home owners, I never see any of my
    “local” home owner neighbors on the beach. I buy six season badges a year as I’m sure all of us shoobies do.
    Another addition to the slush funds.

    We second homes owners would not ask to vote if the locals would do their job and stop voting in the same people for 16 years.

    1. If I pay property taxes in 2 municipalities I should have the right to vote in both ( not state or national elections). It’s just fair ALL tax payers have a voice.

    1. If second homeowners leave, who buys their houses? Other second homeowners and their huge contributions to tax dollars.

      Without new, often larger construction happening, locals like yourself will bear a far higher tax burden.

  6. I’m a year rounder. I know people on the planning board who are trying to change things. But once you allow something, the floodgates open and you are faced with lawsuits if you deny others who want to do the same thing.

    BTW, most of the planning changes happened before the current administration.

    But, if you truly are upset, stop complaining and attend the meetings. No one ever goes to these meetings. So, things get passed.

    You don’t have to be a voter to attend. Easy to complain; harder to participate.

  7. Obviously a second homeowner should not have the right to vote in state or federal elections on issues that involve the state or federal domain.

    But to pay the high taxes that we “shoobees” pay to our localities without any representation is unconstitutional. They had a big party in Boston concerning this very issue.

    There should be separate elections regarding local issues and a vote should be taken for all local taxpayers ( and the elections should be held in the summer when everyone is here).

    This doesn’t just apply to Margate. There are hundreds of thousands of people throughout this state and others who fall into this unrepresented category. Someone in this string observed that people should not complain but go to the town meetings and do the work.

    I agree, but what good does that do if you don’t have the vote to affect your concerns?

    1. The planning board is more than willing to listen to non-voting homeowners. Again, nobody shows up. Easy to complain.

      You can get involved as a non-voter. Non-voters come to the board all the time to push for variances. No one is there to push back or give their opinions. So, the variances are passed.

      Note: we lost Sunny Sunoco to 4 more new townhomes. The property could have stayed commercial. What about a nice coffee shop or restaurant with outdoor seating? We are losing our commercial properties too.

      Believe it or not, the planning board is trying to reduce the number of bedrooms and decrease house size on small lots. But much of this started before the current administration. So current administration needs to be concerned about lawsuits as it was done before. Why not me?

      1. What generates more taxes dollars – construction and annual taxes from multiple properties on Sunny (Sunoco) lot, or coffee shop and outdoor restaurant (especially with the 8-9 months of off-season, and probably almost nothing in the dead of winter)?

        And when coffee shop and restaurant closes? The real estate taxes from new construction are far higher than smaller/older homes.

        Restrict new/larger construction and everyone’s taxes go up, a lot, to pay for the dramatically rising costs of services. It’s just math, not personal.

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