According to a press release from city Administrator Richard Deaney, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significant hardships to both individuals and businesses. Gov. Phil Murphy and the NJ Legislature realized this and extended SR 2020-10 until Nov. 30, 2022 permitting an extension of outdoor dining in municipal rights of way.
Acting within the specifics of the state resolution, the City of Margate in 2020 temporarily closed the right of way in the unit block of N. Essex Avenue from Oak Grove Avenue to Ventnor Avenue from June 15 through Nov. 13, 2020. Under authority of the stated goals of the ongoing state resolution, the Margate City Board of Commissioners has again acted to close a portion of the street to traffic, but for a reduced time period – June 15 until Sept. 13.
Before making this difficult decision, the commission sought input from stakeholders and asked the Margate City Police Department to coordinate this effort with the primary goal of maintaining public safety, the release stated.
During the five month closure in 2020, the Police Department received seven noise complaints associated with the expansion of premises of Bocca Coal Fired Pizza restaurant. Of the seven complaints, six were from the same individual. In addition to noise, lack of parking was the primary issue.
To address the noise issue along this block and in other areas of the city where outdoor dining was extended, the commission introduced Ordinance 124-2021 with specific hours for music and dining. All music is to cease at 8 p.m. and food or beverage service is to cease at 10 p.m. This ordinance affects all businesses operating under the state permitted expansion of premises COVID-19 related initiative.
The Police Department also addressed parking concerns of N. Essex Avenue residents. All of the homes in the area already have off street parking, but to reduce vehicle density, the city will limit on-street parking in the area by issuing parking permits to residents.
In an effort to assist Hot Bagels, an adjoining business with transient traffic, the owner of Bocca agreed to change his delivery schedule to a time frame more favorable to the Hot Bagels business. Also, there will be a temporary 15-minute parking zone along a portion of Ventnor Avenue. Hot Bagels will also be given a parking spot in the closed area to assist with deliveries.
Deaney said the commissioners put much thought into their decisions to ensure the health and safety of Margate residents and visitors, as well as the health and strength of the business community over the past 16 months.
“While the immediate emergency has subsided and most of us yearn for it to be completely ended, there are many people still reeling from loss, feeling the effects of lingering illness, or facing a near future of rebuilding a business or finding a suitable job,” Deaney said in the release.
For more information, see margate-nj.com.