In a hostile move against City of Margate taxpayers, counsel for downtown developer New Urban Communities, Mike Moskowitz, threatened elected officials with a lawsuit at the Wednesday Margate Community Redevelopment Agency (MCRA) meeting. __________
The topic was broached late in the evening as Moskowitz presented city commissioners (sitting as the MCRA Board) with a document exhibiting claims that the City of Margate was in default of a development agreement with New Urban signed in July 2016. This after a majority of the MCRA board - (Mayor and MCRA Chair, Tommy Ruzzano; MCRA Vice Chair and City Commissioner, Anthony Caggiano; and Margate Vice Mayor and MCRA Director on the Board, Arlene Schwartz) - sided with MCRA staff to reject the latest version of New Urban’s site plan for downtown - a site plan that included 922 apartments spread across vacant parcels in and around the crossroads of Margate Boulevard and State Road 7.
“Staff recommends rejection of submitted site plan due to inconsistencies with proposed residential units and available TOC units,” stated the agenda item.
Though a maximum 415 housing units are legally available downtown per Margate’s Transit Oriented Corridor (TOC) laws, Moskowitz demanded the City allow New Urban to put 400-plus garden apartments on the east side of State Road 7 (former Swap Shop property) as part of Phase I of the development agreement. Unless the MCRA allows his clients to build, New Urban will stall development on the property for an undetermined period of time in the courts, the high paid attorney told elected officials. "So no one can use it."
In dissent were Commissioners Joanne Simone and Lesa Peerman. The two have supported apartment density on parcels since the inception of the New Urban project.
Ruzzano, Schwartz and Caggiano continue to oppose using the east side of State Road 7 to construct apartments.