Margate CRA Regulates Car Repair Shops
By: Alyssa Cutter, Sun-Sentinel
The city commission passed the ordinance after determining the area had enough of both types of businesses and decided to close it. The existing 81 car repair shops and nine pawnshops will be allowed to stay, but those types of businesses need no longer apply for vacant spaces within the district.
“We’re closing a loophole so that business owners do not get the impression they can open those businesses, come before this body, ask for an exception, and then get upset because they’ve invested. They’ve tried to move their business forward only to find out it’s inconsistent with the CRA plan,” City Manager Yolanda Rodriguez said. “We’re not getting rid of them, we’re just putting a moratorium on the number.”
Originally, the law would have also done away with secondhand stores, but commissioners and city residents asked for a better definition of what types of secondhand shops would be banned.
“What about thrift stores? There’s a heck of a lot of Margate citizens that use them, a heck of a lot of prominent Margate citizens, and even elected officials who have owned them,” Margate resident Robert Perkis said. “I don’t have a problem with them and I strongly object to anything that tries to get rid of them. I don’t think thrift stores, particularly charitable thrift stores, should have any restrictions on them.”
The commission took out the part about secondhand stores during the ordinance’s second reading. According to Director of Economic Development Ben Ziskal, city staff has a solution.
“We did realize that this is a broad brush strike-through of secondhand goods at the direction to remove the board brush addition of secondhand goods and staff has met and had delineated a list of different used items that we find desirable to the downtown, including record stores, baseball card stores, book stores,” Ziskal said. “There’s a whole number of different beneficial of secondhand goods.”
Resident Phil Hylander told the commission that this law could be damaging to Margate in the future, especially since if one of the current pawn or car repair shops went out of business and a new pawn or car repair shop didn’t replace it within six months, that space would no longer be available for those two types of businesses within the CRA district.
“I just think there are a lot of unintended consequences that are possibly going to come out of this, but we won’t know it for years down the road,” Hylander said. “But it could very well happen.”
However, Margate officials and city staff are confident the change will be for the best.
“We’re not banning these places of business in the city of Margate, just in the CRA area,” Commissioner Frank Talerico said. “We’re trying to improve the CRA area, we’ve done it with monument signs in the past [and] we’ve [had] a lot of improvements with plantings and greenery. We’re trying to make the city look nice. Again, we’re not trying to put someone out of business we’re just putting them in different parts of the city, that’s all.”