PODCAST: Margate Commissioners Endure Heated Public Comments Over Hotel Zoning Plans. Sept 6, 2018:
By 1981, Margate decided to ban all hotels and motels. The short-term room rentals were considered detrimental to community. Sounded like a good idea at the time. New construction on relatively tight lots. Tax-ratables soared. Margate quickly turned into a first class Real Estate town. Discarded most of it’s modest, fishing village roots.
Jump ahead 40 years. Margate, like other Jersey Shore towns, has evolved into a beach community solely dependent on vacation home-owners and part-time residents. An economy that relies on 15 weeks of summer tourism per year.
The upside: premium home values and growing ‘ratables’ keep taxes relatively flat. Approx 75 building permits were granted in the last 12 months. Most projects added millions to the Margate general fund. Nothing wrong with that, as long as you know the downside.
With approx 70% of Margate homeowners considered part-time residents, small business sees reduced customer traffic during mid-week. Many part-time residents use their Margate home, only on the weekends. Monday thru Thursday is relatively quiet throughout the Summer, compared to the insanity of weekends.
Some businesses reduce hours, days of operation, or simply close for portions of the winter.
Roger McLarnon is the Planning Board & Zoning Officer for Margate. Board recommendation: bolster the tourism economy. Hotel tower. Atlantic Ave to the beach, Monroe to Cedar Grove. The Hotel Overlay Zone, the cryptically named: Vertical Development. Some see this as spot zoning. Others see this as a needed amendment to the Margate Master Plan. Boost mid-week business activity. Provide more transient visitors.
Notes from Sept 6, 2018, Margate Commissioner meeting:
Commissioner John Amodeo: every 10 years, towns must update master plan. Stakeholder meetings. Meetings started under Roger Rubin in 2015. Over 30 meetings over course of 2 years. These amendments are not mandatory….just recommendations. Crowd is skeptical.
Recommendations approved by a 9-0 vote, at the AUG 2018 Margate Planning Board meeting.
With ban on hotels & motels, we see the rise of Air BnB, VRBO, renting via Craigslist, etc.
Susan Rubin of Osborne Ave: The public meetings of 2015-2016. Are public records available? Meeting minutes? Who attended? Who were invited guests? 2nd homeowners were well represented? Really? Ms. Rubin was not aware of these public meetings until 2 weeks ago.
Where were the notices advertised? How was the public invited? Are legal notices enough? Legally, yes. Press of AC & Downbeach Current are the legal places to advertise, even though…very few read these papers.
Editors Note: How to solve this public awareness shortcoming? Post the legal notices on the Margate municipal site too. Allow people to ‘subscribe’ to legal notice notifications. When a new one is posted, it gets auto-emailed to the subscriber. This is common Internet functionality.
Lack of public awareness seems to be the #1 frustration of all homeowners. Being kept in dark about substantial issues that affect all taxpayers? Cryptic description of agenda items, ordinances, votes. Need to spell out in plain English, not legalese.
Major votes taking place during off-season? Meeting agenda not posted online prior to meetings. Must attend meeting, in order to see actual agenda. See pic below:
- Emily Zaidan: Why these particular blocks? Long rumored.: owner of one particular biz (Greenhouse?)….wants to sell. Deal already done? Congestion. Transients. Undesirables. ‘No way just 12 people should decide this. There will be a mutiny if this passes’
- If I bought the Greenhouse, could I tear it down and build a hotel? Yes, says Amodeo.
- Ron Jackson. No more high-rises. If you block the beach, you ruin Margate. Remember, Margate is the beach.
A Margate hotel zone may bring in sex offenders? Was a crime study executed? No. Abuse of power?
I don’t see how they can vote YES on this issue on Sept 20, with almost no support. If they vote yes, we’ll drag this through the courts. Delay, until we can vote them out of office. We’ll remove the overlay zone ourselves. I’ve already started the process of making Margate my full-time residence. If I have to, I’ll run for office. I don’t think they care if they get voted out. I hope they prove me wrong so I don’t lose what little faith I have left in our elected officials.
Dropped ball big time with Margate Master Plan update. An insult when you say zoning is not changing.
Lucy the Elephant not mentioned in The Margate Master Plan update?
- Glenn Klotz: Sees no need for more high-rises.
- Atty Robert Baronowski, representing Island House Resident Association.
- Nick Palmisano: pro-hotel & pro-overlay zone. Attract more families & kids. Keep both schools open. Boost business.
- Stephanie Block. Commissioners… in 2 weeks….will vote this in?
- Was this issue buried? Kept away from those who support Margate Boardwalk project?
- David Grossman: Will support hotel, as long as a Boardwalk is agreed upon first. Sometimes, you gotta dance with the devil.