MARGATE — The plan to create an overlay zone that would allow for the development of a hotel project along the beach in Margate had already been tabled earlier this month. Misinformation and a lack of understanding about the new zoning designation, as city officials described it, had seen to that.

The city, its mayor and commissioners couldn’t understand the outrage over the plan; after all, it had been years in the making. There had been ample opportunities prior to the introduction of the ordinance for public input, they said.

But the public came out anyway Thursday in hopes of providing the input they said they had been deprived of.

About 200 concerned residents and property owners crowded into commission chambers Thursday night, quickly filling the available seats before staking claim to the few open places along the wall to stand. Those who failed to arrive more than 20 minutes before the meeting started found themselves relegated to the lobby, listening for updates passed along the outskirts of the crowd like a game of telephone tag.

Some were even escorted outside as the chamber’s maximum occupancy was reached.

Ultimately, the commission announced that the ordinance was not tabled. It was withdrawn and would no longer go back to the Planning Board for adjustment. In its current iteration, the hotel overlay zone — originally designed to run along Atlantic Avenue between Cedar Grove and Coolidge avenues — is dead, effectively eliminating the need for public comment.

The public, however, disagreed.

A resident who lives in a condominium complex in what would have been in the overlay zone said there are no positives in building a hotel along the beach, as he sees it. It just doesn’t fit in Margate.

“I think in that area the congestion in the summer is already so bad I can’t even fathom what that would turn into on the weekends,” said Craig Dossick, who estimated that among Margate residents he knows, more than 80 percent are opposed to any new hotels. “There are lots of kids walking around, people on bicycles, skateboards. The traffic is scary as it is now. This will put it over the top.”

Though the commissioners said the plan was dead, residents stepped up to the microphone one by one to speak, asking why there had been so little in the way of public information disseminated before the ordinance was introduced. Many said they only just heard about the hotel overlay plan from news reports.

Sharon Ianoale, property manager of 9600, a housing complex on Atlantic Avenue with 246 residents, said the commission had failed to be forthcoming. The overlay zone, in this format or in a future format, doesn’t fit Margate or the residents she came to represent, she said.

“They specifically chose Margate because of the quiet residential beach environment,” Ianoale said.

Commissioner John Amodeo said his vote on the matter is his word. Tabling the ordinance, he said, killed it, and should waylay concerns it could come back again. Development in Margate, however, is not dead. The city must and is obligated to entertain submissions to both its Planning and Zoning boards.

There remains a process, regardless of complaints about future developments.

“We see a lot of upset residents here, and we’re addressing the issue. The ordinance is dead. It doesn’t come to the circus again, unless it comes under another number,” he said to a chorus of cries. “We haven’t seen any formal applications, but that’s not to say it couldn’t come in the future. Keep your ears and eyes open.”

In terms of being open, commissioners said they had gone out of their way when it came to notifying the public about the proposed ordinance, including sending more than the required number of notices to residents who would have been impacted by the plan.

But others claimed the commissioners had done too little, especially in the way of seeking public comment.

Commissioner Scott Abbott said the Planning Board is looking at the master plan and is considering reopening it for possible changes. There are other issues to consider when it comes to addressing the totality of the master plan, he said, including back-bay flooding and low-income housing, an issue that caused one resident to cry out their opposition to anything other than adjusting the overlay zone.

Commissioner Maury Blumberg said the commission wasn’t entirely to blame for the ordinance and the resulting fiasco. The master plan was developed by a committee that spent years researching before recommending a hotel overlay zone. He objected to several residents who claimed that a backdoor deal was in the works involving the Marriott hotel chain, a story that has gained traction in circles of gossip and rumor but one officials say is without merit.

“There are no Marriotts being built. There are no plans for Marriotts to be built. We don’t want a Marriott to be built,” Blumberg said. “We like Margate the way it is. We get the message.”

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