Wildwood commissioners: Put a shirt on and pull your pants up

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WILDWOOD- The city is looking to clean up the look of the boardwalk and create a more “family friendly” atmosphere- by having visitors clean up their outfits.

At Wednesday’s commissioners meeting, the administration introduced an ordinance requiring shirts and shoes to be worn on the boardwalk, and banned pants or skirts worn low off the waist.

“I do believe the barometer of our community is based on the boardwalk,” Mayor Ernie Troiano said.

He added that the city was not trying to be old-fashioned, but instead was looking to foster a family-friendly atmosphere.

The ordinance states that shoes must be worn on the boardwalk at all times, and a shirt that covers the chest has to be worn after 8 p.m.

Pants, skirts, and bathing suit waistlines must also be above the hips, according to the ordinance.

Originally, the ordinance required that shirts must be worn at all times, but Commissioner Pete Byron saw the rule as an issue for beachgoers looking to grab a drink or food on the city’s boards.

“I think that could hurt some of the boardwalk businesses,” Byron said.

Newly-appointed city attorney Mary D’Arcy Bittner drafted the ordinance. She said that there are four other communities that have similar ordinances on the books- including ones banning pants worn too low.

“If you’re going to require it, you aren’t the only one,” she said at Wednesday’s meeting.

One such is Ocean City, which requires shoes to be worn at all times. Officials there are particularly stringent about enforcing the rule, perhaps because of numerous lawsuits brought each year against Ocean City from people getting splinters on the boards.

Wildwood officials cited a similar reason for requiring shoes to be worn.

Bittner said that municipalities with similar ordinances had not been met with challenges. She added that because the boardwalk is frequented by children and families, the ordinance is “fully defensible.”

She added that the city had an existing “decency” ordinance that was littered with old language and unenforceable rules. One rule required women to cover up bathing suits while walking on the boardwalk.

The new ordinance will supersede the city’s previous one, Bittner said.

The ordinance will up be up for a public hearing and possible adoption at the city’s next commissioners meeting, 5:30 p.m. June 12 at City Hall, 4400 New Jersey Ave.

Christie Rotondo can be emailed at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you can comment on this story at wildwood.shorenewstoday.com. 

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