#SaveTheTents, ban umbrellas instead on NJ beaches
The mayor of Belmar wants you to attend a public meeting on Aug. 15 in order to discuss a proposal to pass a town ordinance banning tents on the beach that are larger than 3 feet high, wide and deep. What? That's even too small to park a stroller underneath. Why the sudden attack on beach tents?
Several NJ towns have already passed ordinances banning the practice of setting up a large tent on the beach. Mayor Matthew Doherty discussed the need for space, views and safety as reasons for the proposed ban. Wait...safety? He actually said it's possible that a lifeguards view could be obstructed thereby endangering a swimmer in distress. Come on mayor, we're not that stupid. Are your lifeguards sitting so far back out of the water that a tent would obstruct their views? You need better beach safety training if that's the case. It's disingenuous and a clear scare tactic to push through an ordinance that will only serve to discourage beach goers.
Typical NJ politicians looking to ban things based on a couple complaints from locals. At least that's what it sounds like to me. Here's a better idea if you really have a problem of "shoobies" and/or "Bennies" setting up shop with something akin to a Ringling Bros. Big Top. How about set up a specific area toward the beach entrance for tents? Or better yet, charge a tag fee for the privilege of bringing a tent? Why not turn this into a revenue opportunity? Better yet, maybe the mayor should focus on real problems at the shore, like drownings after the life guards go home.
NJ beaches should have beach tags available like ski lift passes. Tags already bring in millions for Jersey shore towns. How about raise the revenue and build local business at the same time; full day, half day, twilight. All doable! Have lifeguards on duty in two shifts, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 2 to 8 p.m. Encourage beachgoers to make a day of it. And you pay for it without raising taxes.
User fees work...charge more for tents. The tents will surely help attract larger groups, families and encourage people to stay longer. Have 'em stay long enough to outlast the cooler of food so they stop in and grab dinner before the trek back to NYC or Philly. Revenue, shoppers, diners...all great for the local summer shore economy. #SaveTheTents.
Oh and while you're at it, if you really need to ban something, how about beach umbrellas? Have you ever had to chase down someone's pointed umbrella flying through the air, kicking up sand and potentially impaling someone? If it saves just one person.
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