MARGATE – An ordinance introduced on Oct. 15 will “clean up” the city’s developmental ordinance by adding specific definitions for roof types, decks and “by right” subdivisions. The ordinance will also offer some protections for the city’s existing tree canopy, which seems to be disappearing rapidly, according to city officials.

According to Zoning Officer Roger McLarnon, the city lost nearly 100 trees in the last several severe storms and developers are cutting down mature trees in the governor’s strip and replacing them with 2-inch caliper trees that often do not survive.

The ordinance would allow the Zoning Officer to determine if planting the required number of trees is feasible in the governor’s strip of a property, some of which are too narrow to allow the tree to survive. Builders also have to contend with utility lines and driveways, which prevent the planting of two trees as required in the ordinance. In some instances, the trees can be planted in the front yard away from overhead electrical lines.

The ordinance defines “by right” subdivision as those minor subdivisions that do not require any variances, and establishes a Subdivision Committee consisting of three Planning Board members to review and approve the minor subdivisions along with input from the Planning Board engineer and planner.

The ordinance also sets building heights at 30 feet regardless of sill plate height in certain zones, and allows third floor decks that face the beach and comply with deck setbacks. It also establishes front yard setbacks as the prevailing setback of homes within 200 feet on the same block, with a minimum of 5 feet.

The ordinance will be sent to the Planning Board for review before a public hearing is scheduled.

In other business, the board withheld introduction of an ordinance that would require pile driving contractors to monitor vibration levels and carry insurance to protect surrounding residential properties from damage until more information can be obtained about the cost of monitoring and if pile driving during bulkhead construction should be included.

Also, a public hearing on an ordinance raising beach tag fees was postponed because it was not properly advertised. It will be readvertised and a public hearing held at a later date.

The board will also revisit allowing outdoor dining in 2021.

Commissioner John Amodeo said it is important to keep the restaurant businesses open during the ongoing coronavirus epidemic and that outdoor dining “makes the city look alive.”


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Categories: Margate

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

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