Point Pleasant Beach treated like ‘absolute toilet’ by slob visitors, mayor complains
Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Paul Kanitra and Jenkinson's are bringing back an old tourism slogan to make sure the summer doesn't get off to another rough start: "A nice place for nice people."
After keeping the boardwalk closed during Memorial Day Weekend in 2020 over social distancing and staffing concerns, thousands descended on Point Pleasant Beach two weeks later.
That led an angry Kanitra to accuse visitors of treating the town like "an absolute toilet."
Numerous citations were issued for urinating in bushes, smoking marijuana, drinking alcohol and littering. Six people were arrested on charges related to drugs or drinking.
The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office also investigated two shell casings found Sunday in a parking lot at the corner of Arnold and Ocean Avenues after shots were heard.
But with masking and social distancing protocols gone in time for the Memorial Day weekend, borough officials say they will meet the rowdiness head on. The bottom line, Kanitra says, is have respect for the borough or go someplace else.
"If you're looking to smoke marijuana in public, cause a bunch of problems and not contribute anything to Point Pleasant Beach, this is not the place for you," the mayor told Townsquare Media News.
Kanitra wants the Ocean County shore town to offer a respite from the increase in overall bad behavior
"For Point Pleasant Beach, from a municipality standpoint and a private business standpoint, disrespectful behavior scares away families of all backgrounds from all over the tri-state area that are used to recreating and enjoying and spending money in Point Pleasant Beach," Kanitra said. "This is a move in the right direction to show our commitment to those families and that we're putting the necessary resources in place to attract and keep them here."
One of the biggest problems along the beach and boardwalk is trash. Jenkinson's and the borough are adding trash cans and a dedicated trash maintenance staff will be on duty in the Little Silver Lake parking lot on weekends and busy days. Jenkinson's will also have their beach staff cleaning trash.
"I feel like an 80 or 90-year-old in a 40-year-old body because I can't even understand how society has gotten to the point where people don't seem to have a care about just throwing their stuff into our gutters and our streets and our oceans and waterways," Kanitra said.
The major components of the Borough’s 2020 beach ordinance remain:
- Alcohol will only be allowed in areas designated by the State Alcoholic Beverage Control
- Coolers are restricted to 13 inches and will be checked by adults.
- Tents must be no larger than 7x7 feet.
- Disruptive noise from speakers of all kinds is expressly prohibited.
"Here in Point Pleasant Beach if you come and you act disrespectfully, you're going to go home with a ticket as a souvenir and that will hopefully enforce that the next time you come here you need to carry yourself in a different manner or they'll go someplace else. Either outcome is fine with us," Kanitra said.
Borough police will add 38 additional Class 1 and Class 2 officers starting Friday with
increased police shifts across the department for more officers on duty at any given time
Jenkinson's will also add more private security guards and off-duty police officers across their property with additional four wheeler patrol vehicles up and down their beaches.
Relations between the borough and Jenkinson's had become strained after the company filed a lawsuit when alcohol was no longer permitted on the beach. The lawsuit was dismissed by a federal judge in April.
"To their credit they reached out and really proved their commitment to families and Point Pleasant Beach to sit down and work all of this out together and think that speaks volumes. A lot of people can talk the talk but you gotta walk the walk. They're making a commitment just like we are to do so," Kanitra said.
The mayor is glad that most of Gov. Phil Murphy's pandemic executive orders about social distancing, capacity limits and mask wearing for the vaccinated are gone.
"Our businesses obviously needed a loosening of the restrictions. A lot of them have taken on a lot of debt to even continue operations throughout the pandemic and it's going to take a couple years before they're fully back to where they need to be," Kanitra said.