Monday, October 2, 2023

Wildwood Ordinances Tougher on Alcohol, Other Violations

Wildwood Logo
Wildwood Logo

By Christopher South

WILDWOOD – The City of Wildwood bolstered its position on enforcing the prohibition of alcohol on the beaches and boardwalk, passing two ordinances after second reading and public hearing.
No public was present to comment on Ordinances 1261-23, which identified possession of alcohol in prohibited areas as a breach of the peace, and Ordinance 1262-23, which prohibits the consumption, possession or display of any alcoholic beverage.
Ordinance 1261-23 allows an officer to charge a person possessing alcohol in a prohibited area with committing a breach of the peace, which is subject to a maximum fine of $2,000 and up to 90 days in jail.
Ordinance 1262-23 expands on the existing ordinance to say that it is not only prohibited to consume alcohol on the beach and boardwalk, but it is also prohibited to possess or display alcoholic beverages in any type of container.
“There were too many cases where people would have alcohol and dispute with police whether it was open or not. People could become hostile, and tempers would flare. Now, they are not allowed to have it, period,” City Solicitor Louis DeLollis said. 
City Administrator Steve O’Connor asked, regarding juveniles, if the police would be able to take them to the police station and call their parents.
“The default action with juveniles is the curbside warning,” DeLollis said.
A curbside warning is considered a brief interaction by police with a juvenile who is committing some act of delinquency.
The next step is called a stationhouse adjustment, which would involve the parents being called to the police station to work out a plan to address delinquency.
Both are intended to address juvenile matters without involving the juvenile in the criminal justice system.
DeLollis said a juvenile possessing alcohol on the beach cannot be considered a breach of the beach because the local ordinance would be preempted by state law.
Besides the display, possession, or consumption of alcohol, Wildwood’s ordinances include other breach of peace violations, like smoking in no-smoking areas and loud music.

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