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New Jersey Town Proposes Law Against Beachspreading

A couple of weeks ago, you might remember my humble request that when you go to the beach, you should consider how much space you take up and make sure you leave enough space on the sand for others. My humble request to not be a beach spreader sparked a hot take that made me out to be some kind of monster, and now I will no doubt be blamed for an ill-conceived law in New Jersey that would punish people for having beach tents that are "too large." Before this escalates further, let me be clear: People who beachspread may be a bit inconsiderate, but that doesn't necessarily mean they should be decapitated or buried alive.

NJ.com reports that the Jersey Shore town of Belmar is considering a ban on beach tents "more than 3 feet in height, width and depth" during the beach season. The reason, according to Belmar officials, is that large tents are both a nuisance to beachgoers and a potential hazard for lifeguards trying to keep an eye on swimmers.

I would ask that the Belmar town leaders please reconsider going down this path, as the last thing the beach needs is the quality of life police walking around coming down on people. And forcing people to measure their tents before they go out won't do much to get across the message that beach towns should really be promoting, which is that the beach is a wonderful place for all of us to share. It's not a place that should be dominated by petty bureaucratic nerds with tape measures and slide rules or whatever.

Plus, Certified New Jersey Expert Tim Donnelly suggests things are bad enough there as it is. "Beaches in Jersey make it as miserable an experience as they can, including charging you to get on what should be a public good, and harass you on the beach up to and including searching your cooler," Donnelly opines. "New Jersey doesn't need more laws to stress you out on your relaxing beach day, it just needs better people."

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