Margate Business Owners Upset About Controversial Dune Project

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The ongoing battle between officials from the City of Margate and representatives from the state over a controversial dune project has turned another page.

Although most of the water between the street and the beach is gone, business owners are upset with the events that have occurred during this summer season.

“August is the busiest month, and of course, we’ve seen the negative effects of the project,” said Lazam Jonuzi, manager of Jonuzi’s Pizza. “And the whole summer itself, it hasn’t been the same.” 

Empty seats line the usually bustling pizza shop on Ventnor Ave. 

The owners at Jonuzi’s Pizza blame the entire dune project process for taking away their valued customers, as they attempted to earn the money that is meant to help them survive throughout the winter season.

“To do stuff like that, do it in the off season when it doesn’t affect everyone,” said Jonuzi, "because [the project has had detrimental] affects on the city itself.” 

“This is our time that business owners are the busiest," said Ruth Krass, owner of Bedazzled Boutique, "and they kind of took that away from us.” 

According to Krass, they’ve still managed to keep busy, but wishes things were different.

“We’re just very upset because we felt like it shouldn’t have been done during the season," said Krass. "This is our season.” 

On Thursday, August 10th, a federal judge overturned a ruling to halt the dune project, which will now allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue working on the project. 

However, according to the judge's decision, any stand-still water higher than two inches must be fenced off. 

“It’s really scummy, and it’s very slippery in the bottom and you can fall in it,” said Bobby Becket, a summertime resident. “There’s a lot of bugs that get attracted to it and it just smells really bad.” 

Several of the young summertime residents said getting to and from the beach has been difficult, with and without the ponding water.

“The water is all green, and it’s really nasty,” said Drew Latz, who is visiting Margate this summer. "It doesn't make me want to walk through it to get to the beach.” 

A representative from the Army Corps of Engineers said that while they continue with the dune construction, they will monitor the basin areas, gather data, and analyze different alternatives with input from the New Jersey Department of Environmental protection and the community. 

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