Margate residents will decide on proposed dune project -

Margate residents will decide on proposed dune project

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 Margate residents will have the opportunity to take sides in the form of a non–binding referendum on whether or not the city should move forward with a dune and beach replenishment project.

"If the community decided they do want to go forward, that triggers a binding referendum," said City Clerk Tom Hiltner.

Hiltner says there is no set date on when the binding referendum vote would take place should the non–binding vote pass.

City officials say the project, estimated to cost twenty million dollars, is federally funded and that the Army Corps of Engineers would construct the single dune running the length of Absecon Island.

Hiltner says some residents argue the dunes provide protection, while others say attention should be paid to homes along the bay after the damage they received during sandy.

"If the dunes are here, they will protect us and that's why they should be here. I'm in favor of it," said Joe Christopher.

"I think there should be more attention paid to the bayside" said Sue Redman.

Hiltner says an ordinance in Margate requires projects like this one to be sent to a public vote. After city commissioners voted Thursday night, the non–binding referendum will appear on the ballot this November.

City officials say there were no concerns over obstructed views but rather, residents expressed concerns over long term maintenance should federal funding be cut.

"There are on going maintenance costs, there are refurbishments after storms and just general maintenance that some people say could be costly," said Hiltner.

As the November 5th vote approaches residents will remain divided on the issue.

"I've seen them build the dunes and I’ve seen the dunes come down, so you can’t fool Mother Nature," said Redman.

"We have to protect the beaches, protect the houses, we need it," said Debbie Borowsky.

"You have two different arguments, people looking at it both ways," said Hiltner

A previously scheduled meeting for Saturday has been canceled because D.E.P. representatives and the Army Corps aren't able to attend.

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