MARGATE – The city, state and local fishers are negotiating to get the Margate fishing pier extended 125 feet, according to City Commissioner John Amodeo.
Amodeo updated the commissioners about ongoing negotiations at the Feb. 7 Board of Commissioners meeting. He said negotiations could result in an approximate $700,000 improvement to the pier, which was affected by the Absecon Island Shore Protection Project. The project included building one contiguous sand dune across all of Absecon Island and extended the beach several hundred feet.
Contractors for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are currently completing installation of the last two stormwater outfall pipes to eliminate the flooding that occurred on the landward side of the dune following its initial construction in 2017.
According to Anglers Club of Absecon Island President Jeff Rutizer, negotiations with the NJ Department of Environmental Protection and the city are ongoing.
“Nothing is finalized yet. Once everything is finalized, I will be glad to comment further,” he said in a telephone interview Monday, Feb. 11.
Rutizer said he listened to the recording of the commission meeting and said that he believes Amodeo was just trying to inform the board about the status of discussions in hopes of obtaining their approval to negotiate further.
Rutizer said although fishing at the pier was affected by the beach project, the public may have been misinformed that the entire pier is high and dry. Although the water is not as deep as it used to be when the tide comes in, it is only dry at low tide, he said.
During the meeting, Amodeo said the project would likely start after the 2019 summer season and could be completed by the following spring.
Amodeo said the state is “big on access and recreation,” and providing public access to about 300 feet of the pier that sits over land and providing stairs from the beach is part of the negotiations.
“The fishing part is for the members only, probably from a 450 feet mark-out to the water’s edge, but the inner T, which is high and dry on the land now, and probably 300-400 feet of walkway could be opened up for public access with steps coming from the beach on the western side close to the pier’s club house itself, which would have a separate gate for members only,” he said.
The access to the pier on Exeter Avenue at the bulkhead would remain private, he said.
Amodeo said he wanted to get approval from the commissioners to start a discussion with the DEP and the pier organization moving forward.
The pier would be similar to the Ventnor Municipal Pier, which allows public access to a portion of the pier and is gated for those who purchase memberships for the fishing season, he said.
The state will pay for engineering fees and construction costs, Amodeo said.
City Administrator Richard Deaney and solicitor John Scott Abbott will be involved to determine what the city’s “liability issues” would be, he said.
The Anglers Club of Absecon Island was founded in 1923 by H. William Shaner and has been privately owned and operated with members paying an annual fee for pier maintenance. The pier sustained about $100,000 in damage during Hurricane Sandy, but repairs were funded by the club with no help from the state or federal agencies.
A request for comment from DEP officials was not returned due to the state of emergency declared by Gov. Phil Murphy during Tuesday’s snow, ice, rain event.