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Jersey Shore: New curfew, late night backpack ban in effect in Sea Isle City, N.J.

Jul 24, 2023Jul 24, 2023

SEA ISLE CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Two new ordinances are now in effect in one Jersey Shore town to try to curb teen misbehavior.

Sea Isle City's promenade has long been a teen hang-out in the evenings, including for 19-year-old Morgan McMenamin.

"That's how I became friends with all the friends I have today," she said. "We all met right on those chairs over there."

But she says now, it's not the same.

"The past year everything just sort of went crazy. Kids were doing wild things. It just wasn't a good environment for our city and it wasn't keeping people safe," said McMenamin.

Last year the city dealt with complaints about large groups of teens. In some cases, they were being destructive.

"Our building was spray painted," said Nick Sidoti, owner of Zio Niccolo Pizza on the promenade. "You ask anyone that's along the promenade, they'll tell you the same thing. Public urination, that kind of thing."

Now, two new ordinances are in effect in an effort to stop the behavior.

"This is just a tool in case you want to be disruptive and it's after 10 o'clock. And they're going to give you two warnings," said Sea Isle City Mayor Len Desiderio.

A curfew for those under 18 will be in effect from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., with exceptions for minors with a parent or guardian, going home from work, or going home from an organized activity.

The backpack ban is in effect from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. for juveniles and adults. It applies to the beach, promenade and beach block streets.

Juveniles will be given two warnings, and then can be brought to the police station and a parent will be called.

Parents who knowingly allow their children to break curfew could face fines.

Some think the new rules are too strict.

"I think it's an excessive rule. And the backpacks? Adults carry backpacks. I just think it shouldn't be banned," said Sharon McLaughlin of West Chester, who owns a home in Sea Isle City.

Sea Isle's mayor called the ordinances "benign," and meant to stop destructive behavior.

"Most of these kids are really great. We don't want to give any of them a record," said Desiderio. "But if you want to be disruptive this is not the place for you."

The mayor says police will not be searching bags.

A new police substation will be used this year just off the promenade to take teens after two warnings while their parents are called.