2003-06-20 / Editorial/Opinion

An Unsatisfactory Answer On Beach Rules

An Unsatisfactory Answer On Beach Rules

Although City Councilman Joe Addabbo’s meeting at the Beach Club earlier this week was designed to kick off his reelection campaign and to find out the problems facing Rockaway residents, it turned into a meeting about the ludicrous beach and boardwalk rules. Addabbo addressed that problem by telling small groups of residents to "keep doing what you are doing." He promised that there would be no wave of tickets on the beach or boardwalk this summer season despite the recently-posted rules. Captain Charles Talamo, the CO of the 100 Precinct was present at the meeting, and he did nothing to dispel the feeling that the rules would not be strictly enforced. Liam Kavanagh, the Deputy Commissioner for Operations for the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, told a Wave editor that the rules would be "enforced appropriately," whatever that means. Kavanagh surprised us by saying that the state sanitary code does not allow for the designation of specific surfing beaches. "We just met with the state, and they did not indicate that," Kavanagh said. Section 6-2.16(d) of Title 10 (Swimming Polls and Bathing Beaches Operation and Supervision) says, however, "No boating, water skiing or surfboarding shall be permitted in the swimming and bathing area. Separate areas for the above activities may be designated by floating lines and buoys." It makes clear the fact that the city may designate those beaches, but are not compelled to under the regulation. That Kananagh did know that fact points out the weakness in the city’s case that it cannot allow surfing. As for the access hours, it was made clear at the meeting from all parties concerned that the rules have been made to be selectively enforced. That is what Kavanagh means by "appropriately enforced." Perhaps, that is what the community wants. It is not, however, what our rules of law allow. Surfing and fishing beaches should be designated immediately and the beach access hours should be modified to allow those who use the beach (but not the ocean) early in the morning and in the evening have access to the beach and boardwalk.

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