Resident Ask Town To Enforce Law Banning Public Nudity; Thongs

Resident Ask Town To Enforce Law Banning Public Nudity; Thongs

Resident Ask Town To Enforce Law Banning Public Nudity; Thongs Featured

By / Local News / Tuesday, 02 July 2019 17:11

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - A local resident sent an unsigned email to Carolina Beach Police Chief Chris Spivey on June 21st, requesting the Town enforce a law banning "public nudity" when people wear thongs or similar swimsuits that show exposed "buttocks."

In the email the resident explained, "I am a tax paying resident of Carolina Beach and am very concerned that our beaches are turning into non-family friendly environments with displays of public nudity by all the thong swimsuits that are showing up on the beaches. According to Code 1986 11-72 Ord. No.06-658, 11-14-2006 Sec.-166 - Public Nudity, it  is illegal to expose to the view of others pubic area, pubic hair, anus, or BUTTOCKS with less than a fully opaque covering. In other words thong and similar swimsuits being worn on the beach with most or all of the buttocks being exposed are against the law.  I would request that your department start patrolling the beach regularly and enforcing this Ordinance on those that are demanding to expose themselves illegally and indecently to the public who are just trying to enjoy a day on the beach."

The person wrote, "Unfortunately, your first stop needs to be with the female lifeguards who are wearing indecent swimsuits with half of their buttocks exposed - they are in clear violation of the code and this needs to be addressed and corrected immediately. Chris,  I am sure you remember the days not so long ago where Carolina Beach was considered across our State and other neighboring States as a rough destination that was not family or children friendly."

The resident wrote, "We have done a tremendous job in rebuilding a reputation and adding family and children oriented attractions to make Carolina Beach a popular vacation destination, but we are in jeopardy of losing that again if we don't start enforcing our nudity codes - as evidenced by what can be seen on the beach now daily, if we give an inch they will take a mile and thongs become the norm only to run our families away.  Of course, in the long-term this negatively impacts all of our property values and drives away residents as well as tourists. I ask that you personally get involved in seeing this Code is enforced so we can keep our Beach the wonderful place it has been built up to be."

Property owner Ray Henderson reached out to Mayor Joe Benson last week an explained, "Please reference this email as our support of the CB Ocean Rescue guards swimsuits.  There isn't any reason to change their uniforms.  They are athletic and inline with rescue/guard suits we've seen in NY, NJ, FL, HI beaches. Also, while we feel that true "thong bikinis" may be a bit over the top (we have a 20 year old daughter and would discourage her from wearing a true thong) we feel this is something that should NOT be legislated. Defining what is a "thong" would be subjective - and slippery slope - and would be very difficult to enforce.  As an example, what do I mean by "true"?!  Frankly, resources would be better served enforcing no littering on the beach, including cigarettes."

Benson explained, "Thanks for your support. Bottom-line: I've said to whoever has asked that this is a non-issue. The suits are functional, which matters most. Enforcing some draconian standards would require, what, code enforcement pulling out a ruler? The CBPD having to approach someone. It's not like they don't have enough to do as it is. Something else to consider, take a look at beach pictures of CB about 100 years ago. Men wore suits and ties, while women sported fancy dresses. Turns out, ours isn't a static society. My daughter is 23. Yeah, no thongs..."

Councilman Jodan Garza asked Interim Town Manager Ed Parvin to bring an updated ordinance to the Council for consideration.

Garza explained, "Please have town staff update that "nudity" code to bring to council. I recommend just striking out the word "buttocks".

The Town code that addresses exposure prohibits:
(1) Less than completely and opaquely covered:
a. Human genitals, pubic region; and
b. Buttocks; or
(2) Human male genitals in a discernibly turgid state, even if completely and opaquely covered.

The neighboring Town of Kure Beach adopted an ordinance years ago that states, "Thong bathing suits or similar attire are specifically prohibited."

The first offense can result in a warning for a $50 fine.

Local resident Lisa Pendergraft expressed support for the lifeguards. She wrote to the Mayor last week, "As a citizen of Carolina Beach, I Lisa Pendergraft,  would like to go on record expressing my support to keep our female life guards in the swimwear they are currently wearing. I do not support a ban on any type of swimwear on our town's beautiful beaches."


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