SEA ISLE CITY — City council voted Tuesday to approve an ordinance that adds more commercial zones on the barrier island after more than an hour and a half of public comment and council discussion.

About 50 people, including both homeowners and business owners, flooded the council's meeting and a majority told councilors they agreed with changing some currently residential areas to commercial zones approved for growth and development.

"This is not about the individual, but (it's) about Sea Isle City," resident Ray Poling said.

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Poling, who is a real estate attorney, told council members during the regularly scheduled meeting there has been a recent surge in commercial businesses coming to Sea Isle and that surge was, partially, the result of adding more commercial zones to the island.

"It's a logical progression for a commercial ordinance," Poling said.

Council members Mary Tighe, Will Kehner and John Divney voted in favor of the ordinance. Michael McHale and Frank Edwardi, Jr. abstained from the conversation and voting process because they both have property that is affected by the zoning changes.

Sea Isle City Solicitor Paul Baldini said the city-wide review of existing zoning and regulations started in January and it is customary for city officials to update zoning ordinances every year and a half.

"This is one part of a multi-phase review by the town," Baldini said.

While most meeting attendees said they were in support of the changes, homeowners who live in neighborhoods that will be affected by the change were against it.

Paul Spadafora, a Sea Isle City summer resident with property on 42nd Street, said his family's condo is currently 46 feet away from a commercial business, but with the approved changes, that is likely to change.

"I'm going to go from a view of the bay to a view of a wall," Spadafora, who lives in Turnersville, Gloucester County, year-round, said.

Despite some concerns, Baldini said the approved changes will make for a more "walkable district" down by Fish Alley. And that type of district, he said, was desired by councilors and incorporated in the city's master plan.

Contact Caitlin Dineen:

609-463-6710

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