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Recent social media chatter among residents opposed to housing on the Carolina Golf Course at 3011 Rock Island Road is unfounded, per a phone conversation between Margate Mayor, Anthony Caggiano and MargateNews.net Wednesday morning. Facebookers have alleged that Caggiano supports the rezoning of the golf course based on a Tuesday meeting between the Mayor and developers 13th Floor.
Social media posts Tuesday alleged that Caggiano expressed favoritism toward a venture by 13th Floor to supplant the 143-acre Carolina Club golf course with hundreds of housing units.
"Fifteen minutes after coming out of the meeting I was made aware of statements,” Caggiano told MargateNews.net Wednesday, adding that he hasn’t shared with anyone whether he favors 13th Floor development or not.
Posts were attributed to Karl Artner, a Margate resident vocal against rezoning the golf course. Artner moderates a Facebook forum that opposes rezoning and admittedly never spoke with Caggiano before making claims that the Mayor favored the 400-unit housing project after a meeting with 13th Floor lobbyists Tuesday. Caggiano was one of two elected officials – the other Antonio Arserio – who met with the firm January 28-29 per the Margate City Clerk's Office. Notably, lobbyist encounters with elected officials and city staff are published on the City’s Open Government page to which Tuesday meetings will be posted with as little delay as possible, clerks say.
In following Artner’s Facebook posts, Carolina resident, Juli Van Der Meulen, emailed elected officials and MargateNews.net (seen above) with a patently false allegation.
"After learning that Mayor Caggiano is now on the side of the 13th Floor, and has met with them, and approved their plans to move forward with the destruction of the golf course, we the residents at the Carolina Country Club and Golf Course, which is in the City of Margate feel betrayed by our Mayor. He betrayed our community and our communities trust and is not listening to his constituents. We soon will have a couple of thousand signatures against this,” Van Der Meulen conveyed in an email.
When asked her source, Van Der Meulen told MargateNews.net that she heard it from Artner. When we asked Artner his source, he told MargateNews.net he had none, except that eight months ago Caggiano told him so in a private conversation.
Artner's position rests with claims that 13th Floor is misleading residents. A core contradiction to recent allegations made by Artner's camp against Caggiano. (For Background Read:13th Floor on Elevator to Development or Not)
Like commissioners Arlene Schwartz, Antonio Arserio and Vice Mayor Tommy Ruzzano – all of whom have met with 13th Floor lobbyists, part of elected officials' job is to hear all sides, said the Mayor.
"I haven't made a decision one way or another on Carolina golf course development," Caggiano told us.