Belmar Officials Mull Ban On Tents To Combat ‘Beach Spreading’

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A problem called ‘beach spreading’ is prompting a Jersey Shore town to consider a ban on tents.

As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, a sea of beach umbrellas filled the shoreline in Belmar on Friday — a timeless tradition for hiding from the sun.

But a new trend is popping up; large tents and canopies, some lined up side by side creating a small beach compound.

“When the beaches are really crowded on weekends, tents take up too much space, crowding people off beach that otherwise could be on the beach,” Ralph Ciallella said.

“They should be outlawed on the beach. People come down, set up right in front of you, take away your view,” Steve McAvoy said.

Belmar’s mayor has coined the term ‘beach spreading’ and is working with the town council on an ordinance to ban tents larger than 36 inches in height, width, or depth.

“These tents are designed more for tailgating at MetLife Stadium, and I love tailgating at MetLife Stadium, but they are really not appropriate for the beach here in Belmar,” Mayor Matt Doherty said.

Donny Ellixson was sitting under his would be banned tent.

“Oh are you kidding me! And I’m that guy,” he said.

He said he thought he was being considerate, setting up behind the crowd and not attaching the sides to his tent.

“Yeah it’s nice for the family, creates shade, I’m not a beach person so I don’t know the do’s and don’ts,” he said.

Pam Richmond was sticking up for Donny.

“I don’t think he’s bothering anybody, he’s with his family, he wants to be in the shade, and he’s willing to put it up, take it down, I’ve got no problem with that,” she said.

The tents often do not anchor into the sand properly, and can cause mayhem on a windy day.

“Can also be a safety hazard because can’t have a clear view from the boardwalk into the water, god forbid there’s a swimmer in distress,” Doherty said.

Smaller tents, like the ones designed for children will still be allowed.

Neighboring Avon By The Sea recently passed a similar ordinance. Spring Lake does not have any rules on the books when it comes to tents, but the council may discuss it after the season, however there have been few complaints.

 

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