Margate residents were not happy with Mayor Becker blocking Essex Ave for the 2nd summer in a row. Will Summer 2022 be more of the same? Many think so.
Margate closed Essex Ave and allowed Bocca Restaurant to expand their business into the street; large tents, live music, food and alcohol service.
Margate safety concerns shared by Essex Ave neighbors.
Margate police, fire and ambulance have longer response times with a street blockage like this.
Here is the response from Mayor Becker and Commissioners Amodeo & Blumberg of Margate:
Please accept this response by the Margate City governing body to the recent Press editorial (“Margate gift to one business not right”) criticism of allowing a restaurant establishment to use a portion of Essex Avenue.
When the governor ordered establishments to close, we the governing body determined to do everything in our power to help our local businesses to survive.
Public meetings were held and our actions approved by resolution. The expansion of food and beverage service to parking lots and sidewalks was permitted.
Public Comment: This vote was hidden & approved within the ‘Consent Agenda’. Few were aware of vote. Few had copy of agenda.
We allowed one establishment to provide service on the adjoining beach. We were instrumental in having the State Alcoholic Beverage Control issue a special ruling for liquor license establishments throughout the state which allowed, among other things, the use of non-contiguous areas for service.
Most of the establishments in Margate had either parking lots or sidewalk area to accommodate outdoor seating. The establishment at issue was not so fortunate.
Public Comment: Other eateries in town had no idea they could request a street closure for their restaurant. Becker, Amodeo and Blumberg can’t be trusted.
Notably, the particular business in question employs over 90 people during the summer season.
After meeting with local businesses and residents to hear their concerns and set guidelines for outdoor dining, we determined to close off a portion of the street.
Some of the local neighbors supported this action and liked the arrangement as they no longer had to deal with delivery trucks and transient parking.
Some were unhappy and have questioned closing the street for a second season. In early spring no one knew when the pandemic would be over. It is still on going and there may be further governmental shutdowns.
Our decisions concerning restaurants and bars were made at public meetings to help these businesses survive.
Our actions were done in accordance with the governor’s executive order. Steps were taken for the benefit of the neighborhoods affected including limited hours and restricted parking. Many have thanked us for our actions to help local businesses.
If we had to do it all over again, we would repeat our actions.
Our position remains that local governing bodies must do what they can to help businesses survive and people to maintain employment.
Mayor Michael Becker
Commissioner John Amodeo
Commissioner Maury Blumberg