By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
MARGATE – Two properties in the Amherst Avenue Marina District were discussed during a special Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday, Jan. 23. Development at one property has been mired in legal suits brought by neighbors who want to stop the project to protect their view of the bay, and the other, which is currently under construction, is unlikely to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy unless faulty construction issues are corrected.
Solicitor John Scott Abbott reported that Lamberti’s restaurant, which has been under construction for several years, has been issued violations for improper construction of a sidewalk and handicapped access ramp, and lighting. The sidewalk is not safe for pedestrians to cross, the ramp is too steep and does not comply with ADA specifications, and the lighting on the exterior of the building, which was never approved by the city, is too bright and does not comply with the city’s lighting ordinance.
Abbott said the owner has been repeatedly notified of the violations but has done nothing to correct the problems.
“I know he’s had a lot of problems with this multi-milllion dollar project, but he’s not addressing violations. I don’t want to go to war with this guy, we want to work with him, but he’s got to respond and make these corrections,” Abbott said. “We can’t let this slide.”
The city does not want to issue a stop work order. Instead, it would like the project to be finished in time for summer. A notice of violation for the sidewalk expires Feb 8, Zoning Officer Roger McLarnon said.
Building Inspector Jim Galantino said issuing a stop work order is the “last thing” the city should do, but if the sidewalk is not corrected by the deadline, the area should be off-limits to pedestrians.
The group agreed that if there are no corrections by the deadline, the Police Department should erect signage directing pedestrians to cross over to the ocean side of Amherst Avenue to avoid traversing the potentially dangerous sidewalk.
“For our liability standpoint, we need to protect the City of Margate,” Fire Chief Dan Adams said.
In another matter, Abbott said he received a lengthy letter from the attorney for Harbor Vista Condominium Association, a townhouse development across from where Jim Leeds wants to rebuild the Barbary Coast Marina along with a mixed use building, asking the city to withdraw Leeds’ building permit. The association has been fighting the project since it was proposed more than five years ago.
“That would be directly contrary to a Superior Court judge’s order we received a year-and-a-half ago,” Abbott said. “I wrote back that unless he has a court order that overrides the judge’s order, we’re not stopping it.”
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