MARGATE – The Planning Board conducted a review Thursday, Aug. 23 of an ordinance the Board of Commissioners introduced on July 5 that changes zoning regulations, including creating a condo-hotel overlay zone from Monroe to Cedar Grove Avenue between the beach and Atlantic Avenue.

There are no undeveloped parcels in the overlay district, and no property owner has requested the change, Commissioner John Amodeo said.

Properties in the overlay district include Island House, Margate Towers, 9600 Atlantic Avenue and Ivory condominium complexes, some townhouses, Ventura’s Greenhouse and Lucy the Elephant.

Amodeo presented sworn testimony providing insight into the change, which he said was recommended in the 2017 Master Plan Review.

The intent or the ordinance change is to allow development of a condominium complex with 20 percent of the units being available as daily rate hotel rentals with a front desk manned 24 hours a day.

Amodeo said the set-aside is needed for a developer to obtain financing.

At one time, Margate had many hotels and motels, but many have been turned into condos, while others have been redeveloped into residential units that have attracted second homeowners. Existing ordinances do not permit short term rentals, Amodeo said.

He said the city is trying to become more family-oriented, as evidenced by the newly opened miniature golf course on Ventnor Avenue, and move from being a second-homeowner town. He said 65 percent of residences are currently owned by second homeowners.

“There are people who want to come to Atlantic City that don’t want to stay there if they bring their kids. They’re staying in Ocean City, Avalon and south. Why wouldn’t we want them to come to our town?” Amodeo said.

Eighty percent of the units could be sold as private condominiums, and nothing would stop a developer from renting more than 20 percent of the units as hotel rooms.

Developers of condo-hotel developments often set aside several lower floors for hotel rentals, Amodeo said.

Although board members could not determine the location of the short-term rental units and amenities provided, they agreed those issues could be determined at the time of the Planning Board’s review of an application for development.

A developer will be required to meet the intent of the ordinance, which provides for flexibility, city planner Roger McLarnon said.

“Whatever developer wants to pursue this type of development, they are going to show what they want to build,” he said.

“The concept has to come to the table,” Amodeo agreed.

Height of any new building is restricted to the height of other existing buildings in the zone, which is 200 feet, McLarnon said.

Also, recent CAFRA changes could allow development on the beach to the “toe of the dune,” officials said.

Any approvals provided to a developer must be included in the property’s master deed, McLarnon said.

The board briefly discussed parking requirements for the zone.

“One space is required for each hotel room. That’s a lot,” McLarnon said.

The ordinance  includes changes in other areas of the city, including reducing the number of parking spaces required for restaurants to one parking spot for every 10 seats, from one parking spot for every five seats.

McLarnon said the ordinance anticipates “walk up” patronage at restaurants along the proposed Washington Avenue pedestrian corridor.

The board unanimously agreed the ordinance revisions comply with the city’s Master Plan.

Their recommendation will be sent to the Board of Commissioners, which will hold second reading of the ordinance and vote for adoption at the Sept. 6 commission meeting.


Categories: Margate

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.