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Monday, July 15, 2024


Biz District Zoning Changes Pave Way for Liquor License Sales


By Jack Fichter

WEST CAPE MAY — Borough Commission introduced an ordinance June 10 that amends zoning regulations to create a downtown business district and also paves the way for West Cape May to offer two liquor licenses for sale by regulating where it can be sold.
Following public input on the proposed zoning changes, Borough Commission made changes to an earlier draft version of the ordinance. Proposed zoning changes encourage mixed-use structures with commercial on the ground floor and residential or professional offices on the upper floors.
The C-1 Broadway Commercial District runs on Broadway from Mechanic Street to Congress Street including the north side of Myrtle Avenue from Broadway to Park. Proposed changes in the zone include eliminating multi-family dwelling use and allowing B&Bs to have the same accessory uses as a hotel. Permitted uses in the district include retail, banks without drive-throughs, professional offices, roadside markets, churches, restaurants and liquor stores for off-premise consumption only either as a separate establishment or in conjunction with a retail establishment.
The C-2 Park Commercial District runs from the east side of Park Boulevard from Leaming Avenue to Perry Street. Permitted uses would include retail, banks with drive-throughs, specialty food, Laundromats, roadside markets, restaurants, liquor stores for off-premises consumption only either as a separate establishment or in conjunction with a retail establishment, professional offices, garden centers, churches and residential use only if it is located above a commercial use.
The C-3 Sunset District follows Sunset Boulevard between Columbia and Atlantic avenues to the end of Perry Street. Permitted uses would include retail, specialty food, Laundromats, restaurants, banks without drive-throughs, liquor stores for off premises consumption either as a separate establishment or in conjunction with a retail establishment, professional offices and parking lots. Residential use would only be permitted on floors above commercial units.
The C-3 zone would have “building form requirements” governing features such as storefront display windows, windows, doors, facades and roof shape.
Mayor Pamela Kaithern said changes were made to contributions to a dedicated parking fund, which would be used for applicants that have insufficient land for 100 percent of the required off-street parking spaces for the site.
The Planning Board may approve an application with insufficient parking spaces. The contribution for each parking space will be paid prior to issuance of a building permit. The payment may also be made in installments over a five-year period with the first payment due prior to the issuance of a building permit.
Additional payments are due on the anniversary of the first payment. Payments not received by the borough on the anniversary date will be delinquent and added to the tax liability of the property owner subject to penalty and interest.
Contribution to the parking fund for one to five spaces are $5,000 for each space or $1,200 per year on the installment plan. Contribution for six or more spaces is $3,000 each or $800 per year over five years on the installment plan.
“This was an amendment to try to make it easier for the businesses,” said Kaithern.
Off-site parking spaces with 500 feet walking distance of a primary pedestrian to a site be developed may be provided through ownership or lease of the lot where parking is proposed.
In the C-1 Broadway District, except for restaurants and bed and breakfast inns, guest houses and hotels/motels providing more than six units including owner’s quarters, parking requirements shall be waived for preexisting structures, except in the case of new construction, expansion of existing structure or entirely new structure.
Kaithern said that clause was added to maintain the integrity of the historic district rather than demolishing structures.
Deputy Mayor Peter Burke said the original recommendation from a consultant was no parking requirements. He said the amendments were a compromise.
The 35-page ordinance covers minimum area and bulk requirements for residential uses, bed and breakfast inns and motels, commercial and mixed use, signs and outdoor dining standards.

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