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Beach Alcohol Checkpoint Plan Up for Public Hearing, Vote in Brick Tuesday

Lifeguards could enforce a beach alcohol ban should a new ordinance be passed by the township council. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Lifeguards could enforce a beach alcohol ban should a new ordinance be passed by the township council. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

An ordinance tightening the township’s anti-alcohol policy at its ocean beaches is up for a public hearing and final vote Tuesday.

The ordinance, introduced last month, allows lifeguards at the township’s three public ocean beaches to inspect coolers and similar containers to check for alcoholic beverages when a beachgoer is accessing the sand. The ordinance was introduced by a 6-1 vote, with Councilman Jim Fozman saying he had concerns over allowing lifeguards, often young men and women, to confront those who might by trying to sneak booze onto the beach.

Brick’s plan, according to Councilwoman Andrea Zapcic, who helped write the ordinance, would involve setting up checkpoints at beach entrances where a lifeguard stationed there would check on coolers. Those who are found to be in possession of alcohol would be asked to either put it back in their vehicle or leave the beach.

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“We are not going to inspect coolers as people are sitting on the beach,” said Zapcic.

“I don’t think we need a 17-year-old lifeguard going up to someone with a water bottle and telling them it’s something other than water,” said Fozman, at the time the ordinance was introduced. “If something is wrong like that, I believe he should call the police.”

Zapcic said confrontations such as the one Fozman described would be avoided since the alcohol would be removed at the beach access point.

“Those same 17-year-old lifeguards will be sent in the water to retrieve an inebriated swimmer who’s putting their life at risk,” Zapcic added.

A separate ordinance in town provides lifeguards with “full police power” while on duty.

Other Rule Changes

Other portions of the same measure were aimed at requiring permits for barbecues at township parks.

“We have had some situations occur over the past several years where some of our picnic tables were set on fire,” said Zapcic.

The ordinance further prohibits those who use township parks from building, or attempting to build, a fire.

Beyond the rules, the ordinance revision under consideration by the township council tweaked some fees for private parties to use township park and beach facilities for gatherings. Of the 100 fees, just 15 are changing – with some rising and some being reduced to bring all of the fees into a standard list.

None of the fees for Brick resident were increased, Zapcic said.