MARGATE – While property owners packed the meeting room Thursday, Sept. 20 to protest a proposed zoning change that would allow a boutique hotel to be built in Margate, they did not stick around long enough to question other ordinances introduced at the meeting that will affect them in the future.

Over the loud chatter that followed a lengthy public comment session about the pulled ordinance, the Board of Commissioners could barely be heard introducing several other ordinances that not only affect development, but also add expenses to future city budgets.

The Board of Commissioners introduced two bond ordinances for the second time this year appropriating more than $3.5 million for capital projects and another that changes zoning requirements for future development.

Ordinance 22-2018 appropriates $2,450,000 to replace the failing Amherst Avenue bulkhead and various road programs. The city will bond $2,327,500 over the next 11 years and use $122,500 from its capital improvement fund to pay for the projects.

Construction of the failing bulkhead along Amherst Avenue, including planning, surveying, engineering and construction, will cost an estimated $843,560. The remainder of the bond will fund road improvements on Atlantic and Thurlow avenues and Bayshore Drive, including milling, paving, curbs and gutters.

Ordinance 23-2018 will fund design and construction of additional stormwater improvements and drainage for road projects being funded through the 2017 State Aid road program.

It is the second time this year, the commission has bonded for capital improvements.

After months of discussion about what projects to fund, the board on June 7 held public hearings and approved two bond ordinances totaling $3.55 million for capital improvements. Ordinance 07-2018 appropriated $2,150,000 for general capital improvements and Ordinance 08-2018 appropriated $1,400,000 for utility improvements.

Combined, the four bonds are more than double the city’s normal annual capital appropriation of $3.5 million.

Chief Financial Officer Lisa McLaughlin said the state allows the city to bond as much as 3.5 percent of the city’s three-year average equalized value, which is $3,958,291,510.

The previously approved capital bond paid for vehicles and equipment, including $660,000 for SUVs, surf rakes, Sea Doo, and fire equipment and apparatus for the Police, Fire and Public Works departments and Beach Patrol; $331,000 for tennis court resurfacing, pickleball courts, Tighe School field and decking for Lucy the Elephant; $1,011,000 for road improvements to Winchester and Burk avenues; $67,000 for HVAC improvements at Historic City Hall and Margate Municipal Building; and $81,000 for information technology.

The previously approved utility bond funded $251,000 for water and sewer upgrades required for street projects; $175,000 for GIS mapping; $843,000 for hydrants, redevelopment of Well No. 8 and painting Benson Avenue water tower; and $131,000 to replace a water main on Burk Avenue.

Although the controversial zoning ordinance was tabled, a new ordinance amending and supplementing the city’s land use ordinance was introduced to clean up “housekeeping issues,” but the without the proposed hotel overlay zone.

Ordinance 24-2018 modernizes the city’s 25-year-old fee schedule for Planning Board reviews, modifies some definitions, and removes the need for a Base Flood Design Committee because the city now uses the latest FEMA flood elevation maps.

Other items in the ordinance will remove the need for variances, city Planner Roger McLarnon said.

It changes setbacks to principal structures on adjacent properties, allows third floor decks, requires that governor’s strips be planted with grass, regulates where stones can be used in front yards, sets driveway width requirements at 10 or 20 feet, and permits garages below buildings.

“A lot of these nuisance variances will go away,” McLarnon said.

Public hearings on all three ordinances will be held 4 p.m. Oct. 4 at Historic City Hall, 1 S. Washington Ave.


Categories: Margate

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

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