ATLANTIC CITY — A lawsuit filed by the owner of a Margate restaurant was quashed this week, clearing the way for redevelopment across the street at Captain Andy’s Marina.
Two Daughters LLC, the owner of Sofia Restaurant, filed the suit after the site plan and variances were approved last spring.
In the complaint, originally filed in May 2018, the company alleged that when the city’s Planning Board passed the resolution the previous March granting a dozen variances for Harbour Bay’s redevelopment project, it was “contrary to the public health, safety and welfare.”
In his decision Monday, Assignment Judge Julio L. Mendez found the resolution granting variances for a redevelopment project at the marina, passed by the Margate Planning Board, “was not arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable,” and city ordinances supporting were valid.
Benjamin Zeltner, the attorney representing Harbour Bay, said that they are “thrilled” the court upheld the Planning Board’s decision.
“This is a positive development for the city, especially the Amherst Avenue area,” Zeltner said. “It’s a long-overdue project that will enhance the bayfront, provide public access with a new pedestrian promenade and reduce flooding through a new bulkhead, all in furtherance of the city’s master plan.”
Attorneys representing Planning Board and Two Daughters have not responded to a request for comment.
“This is an important step forward for Margate,” Solicitor John Scott Abbott said, explaining that this project will give the city about 20 new boat slips in addition to the restaurant and other improvements, calling it a “tremendous investment in Margate,” in an area that was particularly hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Last year, Harbor Bay, the owner of the marina, was given approval by the city’s Planning Board to improve the site in the 9000 block of Amherst Avenue. The plans called for the demolition of the current structure and construction of a boat fueling station, a 149-seat restaurant and a bait shop, among other improvements.
Variances granted for the project include the front and side yard setbacks, signage style and size, as well as number of parking spaces and fence height, according to the resolution. The company was also waived from submitting a traffic impact study.
Two Daughters LLC said Harbour Bay didn’t testify about hardships and positive or negative criteria about the variances and failed to require a traffic study, according to the complaint, and the Planning Board’s actions were arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable in approving the site plan application, variances and waiver request.