The City’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) is conducting a workshop Tuesday January 31, 2017 at 6 p.m. at City Hall 5790 Margate Blvd. when elected officials will discuss proposed modifications to the City Center (Margate downtown) plan. According to Margate Mayor and CRA Chairman, Tommy Ruzzano, the public will be allowed to speak and share their views.
Talks Tuesday will center on reducing the number of apartments in original plans by 10 percent or more, along with relocating the planned community center, Discussion will include moving forward with public amenities in Phase 1 such as the waterfront promenade, band shell and public parking garage some of which is tentatively scheduled to break ground at the end of the year.
To look at the current downtown plan (scroll through conceptual drawing at bottom of article) is to see at least three separate private communities, all with swimming pools and off limits to residents who won’t be living there. A hotel appears adjacent to a neighborhood frequented by drug traffic on the east side of Melaleuca Drive and an entertainment amphitheater and multi-story parking garage across from what is now a quiet residential community. Any of this could change at the hands of elected officials.
Advocates of the proposed City Center project say nearly 1,000 apartments seen in the plan are needed over the three phase, 10-year development to support roughly 117,000 square feet of mixed use office/retail/hospitality. This despite thousands of homes located directly to the east of Phase I and thousands more within a 1-5 mile radius. Developers say that that without such apartment density, it will be difficult to attract investors, along with quality retail and professional establishments.
Opponents of the existing plan say such apartment density will negatively impact quality of life in Margate and worsen traffic congestion. Many longtime residents say urban living isn’t why they moved to Margate and their elected officials should respect that.
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