Friday, September 29, 2023

New Cape May Zone Prohibits Condominiums

By Jack Fichter

CAPE MAY – City council approved changes to the municipal zoning map Oct. 18 that would keep condominiums out of a section of the city.
A new zone is created called R-3A medium density residential.
Churches, schools, single family dwellings, municipal uses, and guest houses are allowed in the zone, but multifamily buildings (condos) are prohibited.
The boundaries of the zone run from Columbia Avenue, south to Gurney, between Madi-son Avenue and Jefferson Street.
Specifications for the R-3A zone:
o Single-family detached homes require minimum of 6,250 square feet while historic structure conversions require minimum of 7,500 square feet.
o Two bedrooms require a minimum of 2,500 square feet, one bedroom, 1,600 square feet, and efficiencies, 1,200 square feet.
o A single family homes requires lot width of 50 feet while an historic structure conver-sion requires 60 feet.
o A tourist or guesthouse in R-3A requires a 10,000-square-foot lot.
o Maximum building height is 35 feet with no more than 45 percent lot coverage for all uses.
Other changes to the zoning map: a section of Texas Avenue including Fleming Real Es-tate will be rezoned as R-5. A mixed-use zone no longer exists.
The real estate office could be demolished for condos if desired.
A proposed Neighborhood Professional (NP) zone along Texas Avenue that included doc-tor’s offices was not created. The area will remain a commercial zone.
With plans to revitalize the city’s mall, build a new convention hall, and possibly a park-ing garage, a few extra dollars from the state could help.
City council approved three resolutions authorizing application for three Smart Growth Future Grants from the state Department of Community Affairs, each for $25,000.
City Manager Luciano V. Corea Jr. said one grant was for a study of design guidelines, items that will define the city’s streetscape. Another grant would cover a study to deter-mine if the city needs a parking garage.
A third grant would help finance a study to refurbish the Washington Street Mall such as paving, landscaping, and lighting, said Corea.
“We’ve anticipated the studies could cost $50,000 each and we’ve requested $25,000 in grants for each one of these three applications,” he said.
Corea said the city has received the final draft of a consulting firm’s recommendations for building a new convention hall, which will be presented at council’s Nov. 1 meeting at 1 p.m.
He reported the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cape May’s new information kiosk on the Washington Street Mall, known as the Town Crier, is completed.
A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held Nov. 4 at 3 p.m.
Corea said the city’s codebook is now available on the city’s Web site at
Council introduced an ordinance that would allow a homeowner 15 months to tear down a home approved for demolition by the historic preservation commission. Currently, demo-lition approvals are for 12 months but are prohibited from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
A change to the ordinance would take into account the summer moratorium on demoli-tions and add an extra three months.
Councilman David Craig requested discussion at the next council work session Nov. 1 of public areas where dogs are permitted and lowering the speed limit to 20 mph in the city for trucks and buses.
Contact Fichter at:

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