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The TPA Scholarship 

In recognition of the importance of education in our community, beginning this year the TPA is instituting an annual scholarship for a graduating senior residing in the City of Cape May.

This $1,000 scholarship will be based on Cape May City residency, community service, high school academic performance and financial need. The recipient will be selected by the Board of Directors of the CMTPA.

To be eligible a student must have attended Lower Cape May Regional, Wildwood Catholic High School, or any other accredited secondary school for a minimum of two years and be a full- time / year-round resident of the City of Cape May or the United States Coast Guard Base Cape May.

To qualify for this $1,000 annual scholarship the recipient must be enrolled as a full-time degree pursuit student at an accredited college or technical school. A full course load must be scheduled for the entire first year. And the scholarship will be paid directly to the student prior to the fall 2022 enrollment year. Applications have been distributed to Guidance Offices of all accredited secondary schools, and the deadline for submission of an application is April 21.


Outdoor Dining 

On Tuesday April 5, City Council introduced an ordinance (Ord No 461-2022) governing the use of outdoor dining arrangements throughout the city. The intent of the ordinance is to encourage and promote the use of outdoor spaces for outdoor dining in all restaurants, bars, and food service businesses while regulating such activities in the interested the health, safety and welfare of the City's residents and visitors. The full text of the proposed ordinance is available on the CMTPA website.

During the COVID lockdown imposed by the State, the city was required to suspend most regulations concerning dining arrangements and the consumption food and alcohol throughout the City. In addition, unprecedented accommodations were made to bars and restaurants in order assist businesses through a difficult time. These measures included fast track approvals for new uses of outdoor seating spaces on-site such as parking lots, lawns and alleyways, as well as the use of public property such as sidewalks and streets for bar and restaurant seating. Those emergency accommodations expired on December 31, 2021. All decisions regarding outdoor dining and the public consumption of alcohol reverted to existing code which was silent on many of the unique concessions made by the City to blunt the impact of Covid on the hospitality industry of Cape May.

The proposed Ordinance (Ord No 461-2022) intends to codify two major elements:

  1. Clarifies and modifies existing regulations on Outdoor Seating
    Sets standards by which the use of outdoor spaces within the private property of bars and restaurants will be a permitted use for tables and seats to accommodate food and beverage service. These standards will apply to both existing facilities and new requests for approved outdoor seating.
    These standards include design, equipment, and operational restrictions. The new ordinance specifically prohibits outdoors bars in any of these spaces, and also prohibits any additional increase in seating capacity resulting from outdoor seating. The current license fee for outdoor seating will remain at $10 per seat.
  2. Makes permanent the use of public rights of way (sidewalks) for outdoor dining by bars and food service businesses under certain conditions.
    Current code provides for the private use of public spaces only along the Washington Street Mall. The proposed ordinance would extend that provision to any and all food and beverage establishments throughout the City.
    The Ordinance specifies tables and seats for dining purposes and includes no provision for the consumption of food or beverages by standing patrons. The Ordinance also sets several operational restrictions on the use of the public right of way and does not permit the private use of public streets for outdoor dining.
    Applications for use of any public right of way sidewalk must be approved only by the City Council. Fees would be similar to those of the Mall regulations.

City Council has established an aggressive timetable for the adoption of this Ordinance, targeting May 3 for the final adoption and an effective date of May 31 in order to accommodate businesses who wish to provide outdoor dining this summer. The only public hearing scheduled for this ordinance will be May 3 just prior to the vote to adopt.

TPA urges anyone interested in this issue to examine the proposed ordinance carefully and make your thoughts and opinions know to the members of City Council. Their email addresses are available on the City Website.


Residential Rentals 

Just a reminder that if you choose to use your property as a short term, or seasonal rental for any period of time, you are required by City Ordinance to register your rental unit with the Cape May City Clerk and obtain an annual mercantile license for that use.

Details are available on the City Website:


Protection Against Climate Threats (PACT) 

If you own property in Cape May you would well advised to keep a careful eye on this issue as it moves forward.

In January 2020 Gov Murphy issued an Executive Order directing the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to research climate change and sea level rise and develop regulations to address those threats. The DEP has responded in a draconian bureaucratic overreach which, if implemented, will significantly devalue land, stymie construction, and deleteriously alter the street scape of a National Historic Landmark which is the City of Cape May, and every other coastal community.

The Murphy Administration is currently requiring municipalities to adopt a new model Flood Damage Protection Ordinance that appears to require that municipalities automatically impose the NJ PACT regulations prior to their adoption through the State rule making process.

Historically when NJDEP, or any executive agency, issues new rules that are promulgated pursuant to legislation. Incredibly in this case, there is no legislation that has authorized the NJDEP to require more stringent requirements than the federal regulations that are now in place. In fact, Legislature has been excluded from this process by the Murphy Administration.

In this unilateral Executive action, there has been no public discussion whatsoever concerning the magnitude of the economic impact of these proposed regulations or how to assist residents who will be negatively impacted. DEP's proposed regulatory re-alignment is expected to result in extensive and immediate economic impacts, yet DEP has excluded any discussion with the communities who will be most affected by their actions.

The Cape May City Council has publicly opposed the adoption of the mandated PACT Regulations and the State's proposed Flood Damage Protection Ordinance as currently presented. Council is calling for DEP to follow the same practice as FEMA and provide detailed maps so that communities and residents can clearly understand how these regulations will impact specific properties.

Council is also calling for an independent economist to considering potential economic impacts prior to release of the NJ PACT proposals, so as to better understand the economic impact to coastal communities.

The Legislature is also encouraged to exercise its legislative oversight authority to review this unilateral Executive action prior to its adoption to ensure the fairness and the maximum public acceptance of those regulations.

The Board of Cape May County Commissioners has warned that many municipalities might adopt the DEP ordinance unaware of the impact it will have on their residents, enforcement, or municipal budgets and that the new rules would most drastically affect coastal communities rather than inland western and northern counties. County Commission Director Gerald Thornton has bluntly stated "Believe me, it will destroy the property values on the barrier islands."

Stay tuned!


The Beach Theater 

The site of the Beach Theater on Beach Drive has long been in deteriorating condition since partial demolition removed the theater portion and left a row of shops.

Beach Theater Street View

Last October a developer appeared before City Council to provide a general overview of his vision for the property.

Beach Theater Development

The developer, Icona Resorts, envisions a seven story, 169 room hotel, with cafes, restaurants, outdoor dining areas, shops, 260 indoor parking spaces and a swimming pool on the eighth floor, for an anticipated cost of $100 million.

City officials anticipate that formal plans and applications will be submitted in the very near future, with the process of review and public input beginning with the City Planning Board. 


The 2022 Budget 

City Council has introduced the Budget for 2022, and the Tax Rate remains unchanged for the second straight year. That's the good news -- the rest of the story is buried in the details. In our next Enewsletter we will take a deep dive into those details regarding proposed Revenue and Spending.


The New Police Station 

Several important developments are pending regarding this initiative, including the recent approval by Council to authorize a maximum bond funding of $5,000,000 for the building of a new Police Station. Additional information will be available in our next Enewsletter.


Communication is the key to reaching our goal.

We need to hear your thoughts, comments, suggestions, complaints and concerns as we seek to evaluate the decisions affecting the interests of Cape May's Taxpayers.

Please reach out to us at:

Hope to hear from you soon!

Taxpayers Association of Cape May
PO Box 46
Cape May, NJ 08204


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