Margate residents still skeptical. Will Essex Ave be blocked again for the third summer in a row?
During public comment on March 17, a resident questioned a resolution that was quietly voted on back in February 2022. The resolution was buried within a supposed, non-controversial consent agenda.
Due to health concerns over past two summers, Margate elected officials have allowed Bocca Restaurant to set up tents, speakers, food and drink service on Essex Ave. Now that the NJ Governor has removed all restrictions for indoor dining, should Bocca be allowed to close Essex Ave again for summer 2022?
Residents have complained. This is a safety issue. Fire and police response times will be longer for this Essex Ave neighborhood between Amherst and Ventnor Aves. Loud music, illegal parking and public urination have also been reported as complaints.
Margate Commissioner Maury Blumberg claims: Yes, we had a few complaints, but we had a couple hundred people that thought it was a really good thing and thanked us for doing it.
Visitors returning this summer have expressed disappointment that the street is still blocked and their prior patience has been abused.Press of AC, July 2021.
From Press of Atlantic City: Now it is business as usual for Bocca and other Margate restaurants. No sweetheart deals for one company. No blatant favoritism of one private business. And especially nothing even resembling that without public hearings and all interested parties weighing in. Margate visitors, residents and other businesses have been remarkably restrained in their reactions to the improper gifting by the commissioners.
No consideration to close this year, says the often snickering, Mayor Becker of Margate.
Commissioner John Amodeo: people wanted to eat outside.
Margate Homeowners Association: Last year, one commissioner told me they allowed Bocca restaurant to use street because the owner bought a rug and furniture to serve outside. It cost Bocca $7,000 and they wanted to help out Bocca. That same person also said Governor’s change in how we handle Covid protocols did not occur until two weeks prior to Bocca opening outside in the street. This was 2021. Based on Governor’s decision, Bocca was not in need of outside seating. That same commissioner said it will not happen again in 2022. Is Pinocchio one of the three commissioners?