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Seaside Heights Adopts Youth Curfew and 8pm Beach Closure, But Law May be Modified

Altercations posted to social media during the 2023 Memorial Day weekend in Seaside Heights, N.J. (Source: Instagram/TikTok)

Altercations posted to social media during the 2023 Memorial Day weekend in Seaside Heights, N.J. (Source: Instagram/TikTok)

Seaside Heights council members on Wednesday unanimously adopted an ordinance that enacts a youth curfew in town and closes beach access at 8 p.m. except for town-sanctions events, surfing and sport fishing.

The borough has effectively already implemented the policy through an emergency resolution passed shortly after Memorial Day weekend, when groups of teens raged out-of-control, prompting residents to pack a council meeting demanding action. At the same meeting, the council introduced an ordinance that would formally codify the curfew and beach access regulations into the borough code. That ordinance was subject to a public hearing and second vote Wednesday, which garnered no objections. It passed unanimously.

The ordinances establish a 10 p.m. curfew for those under the age of 18, except when traveling to or from work or with an adult, and close access to beaches at 8 p.m. except for those actively fishing or surfing. Further, according to Borough Attorney Jean Cipriani, the resolution empowers officials to close the boardwalk completely in the event of a “pop-up” gathering or any scenario where the security situation becomes too much for police to control.

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While the council adopted the ordinance Wednesday, it is expected that some additional exceptions will be added to the beach access policy. Specifically, one council member brought up access for those who like to “beachcomb” in the evenings, with metal detectors or looking for seashells. Attorney Robin La Bue, a partner at Cipriani’s firm serving as borough attorney at the meeting, said such modifications would constitute a substantial change in the ordinance, meaning it would have to be scrapped and re-adopted. Instead, the council chose to adopt the ordinance as-is, then vote to amend it at the next meeting with whichever exceptions are agreed-upon by the governing body.

Borough officials have reported no significant incidents of vandalism or trouble caused by teens since the policy went into effect and the raucous “prom season” came to an end in June.

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