Point Pleasant Beach cracks down on loud, slobbish, ‘heinous’ behavior
POINT PLEASANT BEACH — Officials in this Jersey Shore borough are cracking down on bad beach behavior including public drinking, littering and noise.
The Borough Council on Tuesday night adopted an ordinance that among other things bans extra-large coolers and loud music.
The new rules come as a response to the recent reports of unruly behavior by people eager to soak up the sun after months of staying indoors during the pandemic. It also addresses concerns that Mayor Paul Kanitra has had for many years.
"First and foremost, these measures were taken to stem the tide of disrespect that has been left unchecked for the past 5 years or so," Kanitra said Wednesday on Facebook.
"People will still be able to walk the lateral shoreline. People will still be able to go down to the beach for fireworks night. Surfers, fishermen and divers will still be allowed to do their thing. Your usage of the beach will not see much difference," he added.
"But those who come here to disrespect our town, our residents and our natural resources should take this as a clear message that we have the resolve to do whatever is necessary to stop you from your heinous behavior. This cannot and will not be allowed to continue."
Point Pleasant Police officers and lifeguards will be in charge of ensuring that the ordinances are followed, but there is also concern about rising tensions between the authorities and beach goers.
In a widely circulated video recorded earlier this month on a borough beach, Zakee Murphy, 29, of Garfield, was arrested for what onlookers thought to be the carrying of an alcoholic beverage. The video, which has since been removed from Twitter, garnered more than 200,000 views, and people can be seen shouting profanities at the officers placing Murphy in cuffs.
Police Chief Joseph Michigan later said that the reason for the arrest was that Murphy had refused to provide his name and then resisted arrest.
Among the regulations:
- Beaches will operate 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fishermen and surfers can enter the beach after hours as long as they remain to fish or surf.
- No littering on the beach or boardwalk.
- No selling food or drinks without a license.
- No loud noise or music or profane or indecent language.
- No alcohol or glass containers or bottles.
- No dogs until Oct. 1.
- No refusing to heed directions by lifeguards regarding bathing or social distancing.
- No smoking or vaping.
- No coolers larger than 13 inches or 9 quarts.
- No serving or warming trays.
- No canopy style sun shades larger than 7 by 7 feet.
- No tents of any size.
- No baby tents larger than 36 inches.
- No umbrellas or collapsible circular shades bigger than 8 feet or with grounding lines or tethers.
- No tables or stands.
- No cooking.
- No drones.
Additional authority has been given to lifeguards to make sure these ordinances are followed. The borough also is not allowing teen workers to check coolers just in case they come across contraband.
Kanitra’s concern for the rising national number of COVID-19 cases could also have had an effect on the ordinances.
“We're seeing spikes across the country in states that opened up weeks ago, and while we're doing a good job in New Jersey, there are a lot of people that are way too cavalier about social distancing,” he said in a statement. “There's inherent risk in all of this.”
Authorities elsewhere on the Jersey Shore have had to deal with large and unruly crowds this summer.
A video surfaced showing packed crowds with few covered faces at D'Jais in Belmar, which prompted Murphy to warn the public about reimposing harsher restrictions.
This week in Brick, police broke up a packed and rowdy pool party that brought about 400 people to a neighborhood.