BELMAR — Another Jersey Shore town has banned large tents and canopies from its beaches.

The Borough Council in Belmar voted Tuesday 3-2 to prohibit tents that are more than 3 feet in height, width, and depth between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, starting with the 2018 season. Umbrellas would be allowed on the beach.

"It's not an easy thing to do, increasing people's enjoyment of the beach front. It's not something we want to do but unfortunately we're not able to depend on people using common sense and common courtesy when they are at the beachfront using these extremely large  tents and canopies that interrupt other people's experience and are potentially a threat to public safety," Doherty told New Jersey 101.5.

He said that lifeguards and police have both wanted to have them banned.

According to the Asbury Park Press, Mayor Matt Doherty and Councilmen Thomas Brennan and Mark Walsifer voted for the ordinance, while Jennifer Nicolay and Brian McGovern voted against it.

Doherty led the movement to pass the ordinance to limit what has become known as "beach spreading."

"These are tents you would typically see maybe in someone’s backyard or even tailgating at a place like MetLife Stadium. They really are not appropriate at the Jersey Shore," Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty told New Jersey 101.5 in August.

The mayor is not concerned about the rule affecting tourism and noted that Seaside Heights, Avon by the Sea, Point Pleasant Beach and Long Beach Island have similar restrictions in place."The effect looks to be marginal at worst, Doherty said.

He said that the borough has not ticketed anyone for violating its ban on smoking on the beach and boardwalk and anticipates the same level of compliance. "It's my hope we never write a ticket," the mayor said.

Doherty said that he knows people have legitimate reasons to need a larger tent or canopy at the beach and exceptions will be made.

"Like every other ordinance our police have discretion how they administer them.  If someone comes in a wheelchair and they need a 10-by-10 canopy to sit under that person will be fine," Doherty said.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at

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