August 9, 2017 | 10:39am | Updated
A Jersey Shore town is declaring war on inconsiderate sunbathers who set up massive tents on the beach.
The popular town of Belmar is seeking to put an end to “beach spreading” — by banning all tents that are more than three feet in height and width, according to local media.
“We are going to move forward on a prohibition on those large tents,” Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty said Tuesday, according to NJ.com.
The large tents block visibility and take up too much space, according to town officials.
Tents make finding a spot on the sand that much more difficult, the popular tourist-destination town says.
“It lessens the experience when [people] come to the beach at the Jersey Shore,” Doherty said.
He added it could also be a problem for lifeguards, who may not be able to see a struggling swimmer in time to save them: “They can obstruct the view if there is a swimmer in the water.”
“I love tailgating at Metlife Stadium,” he said, according to the Asbury Park Press, “but those same tents for tailgating are not appropriate at the beach.”
Belmar local Lois Gelman, 57, told the Asbury Park Press the tents are a nuisance.
“The problem is they encroach on other people’s area. They shadow a large portion of the beach,” said Gelman, who’s been going to Belmar beach her entire life.
“They bring tables, coolers. It looks like they’re moving in for a week.”
Gelman said the ban will really help with the massive summer crowds, which can go from 5,800 to 60,000 over summer.
For beachgoer Leigh Fitzsimmons, 34, the tents are a big help with her 5-month-old baby and elderly mother, who’s been diagnosed with melanoma.
“It’s made going to the beach a lot easier,” Fitzsimmons said, adding, “I was happy that Belmar was one of the few that still allows it.”
The tent ban would only take effect during the peak beach season from Memorial Day to Labor Day, according to the mayor.