Residents are tying beach chairs to the bulkheads in Margate.


MARGATE – Last year, they were tied to the dune fences. This year, they are tethered to the bulkheads.

The Board of Commissioners Thursday, July 21 held a discussion about how the city could rid the beach of an eyesore created by residents who do not care to carry their beach chairs to the beach each day. Instead, they chain them to the bulkheads so they are there when they decide to go to the beach.

One area where beach chairs are problematic is at Pembroke Avenue where dozens of beach chairs are tied to the wooden bulkhead.

Solicitor John Scott Abbott reported that the city has received a written complaint from an attorney about the practice of storing beach chairs on city property. The attorney called it trash, Abbott said.

Although there are no ordinances prohibiting the practice, it is unsightly, the commissioners agreed.

“We need come up with an answer or a solution. There has to be a happy medium or compromise,” Abbott said. “It is somewhat unsightly.”

Mayor Michael Becker said it does look “messy” and “we have to find a way to clear this area up.”

Commissioner Maury Blumberg suggested discussing the issue in closed session, but Abbott said he did not think the topic was appropriate for an executive session.

“The beach is a public park and it’s city property, what says they can’t tie their chairs up?” Commissioner John Amodeo asked.

“Nothing,” Abbott responded.

Amodeo suggested the possibility of erecting corrals on the landward side of the dune, perhaps at every other beach entrance.

“There is some legitimacy to the complaint. It does look like hell, but I can see the convenience of not having to lug your chairs back and forth,” Abbott said.

“Where does it stop?” Commissioner Maury Blumberg asked. “There are chairs, umbrellas, tables, wagons, weight lifting equipment, ropes, where do we stop?”

Last year, beach paraphernalia was tethered to the dune fences.

Last year, the Police Department tagged beach chairs tied to the split rail fences to notify the owners that the chains would be cut, and the chairs removed. The residents complied, but it seems they just found another place to put them. In addition to beach chairs, the residents were tying up their kayaks and surfboards to the split rail fences.

“Even this year, we started (tagging) in June, but it just pushed the chairs from one location to another,” Police Chief Matthew Hankinson said.

Becker suggested taking an inventory of locations where beach paraphernalia has become problematic.

During the public comment session, resident Kathy Heitzman said she carries her chair to the beach.

“I don’t think is fair for the public to do this,” she said. “Once we let one or two beaches do it, then it’s going to happen throughout.”

Any type of obstruction to the dune system is prohibited by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection in the city’s Beach Maintenance Agreement, but the area between the toe of the dune and the bulkhead is under the control of city government. Some of the bulkheads are privately owned, but others, including the bulkheads at street ends, are public property.

Hankinson said if the city removes them, it will have to store them somewhere until they are claimed.

“We just can’t destroy them,” he said, comparing confiscating beach chairs to towing disabled vehicles, in which case, the department has to obtain clear title before selling the vehicles at auction.

The commissioners and department heads, including Public Works Supervisor Frank Ricciotti whose department is responsible for beach maintenance, failed to come up with a compromise solution at the meeting, but they said they will continue to consider the matter.

Abbott was instructed to send a letter to the attorney letting him know that the city is “looking at it.”


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Categories: Margate

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.