BY CARLI TEPROFF The Miami Herald 

Going to the beach in Hollywood isn’t as simply as you might think. Already there is a rule on the books prohibiting food and drink on the beach. Soon, commissioners will talk about limiting tents.
The Hollywood Commission is considering regulating the kind of tents for shade that can be set up on the beach, and where they can be put up.

There are two things Michele Carbon said never goes to the beach without: her four-poster tent to shade her family from South Florida’s heat and a cooler with juice boxes for the kids.

One of those is already illegal, and the other might be soon.

According to a little known Hollywood ordinance, eating or drinking anything on the beach — including water — is illegal. 

And placing a tent on the beach may soon get tricky, too, as the commission considers ways to regulate shade structures to prevent “tent cities.”

“We have gotten some complaints from people who live on the beach,” said Chuck Ellis, the city’s acting assistant city manager, saying four-sided canopies can be dangerous, as well as block the view to the ocean. “We are looking at our options.”

On a busy weekend, dozens of colorful umbrellas, camping tents and shade screens lined the beach. Sprinkled throughout were individual four-poster tents, including Carbon’s, which was propped only feet from the ocean near Johnson Street.

“How can you come to the beach with kids and not have shade,” she asked, adding she understands there may be a problem if they block the lifeguard stand. “Most people just to the beach to have a good time and not be bothered.”
The city is currently talking about restricting how many tents can be side by side, and where they can be placed on the beach.

“I don’t see why we have to have big tents on the sandy beach,” said Commissioner Linda Sherwood. “It ruins it for everyone else.”

Other municipalities, including Miami-Dade, Boca Raton and Dania Beach, restrict where the tents can be placed, said Jack Mathison, assistant director of parks, recreation and cultural arts. However, neighboring Hallandale Beach does not have any restrictions.

Nothing has been decided, but Ellis said the item will be on a city agenda in the near future.
Hollywood Beach Civic Association Vice President Frank De Risi said he supports restrictions for the tents, saying tents take up more space on the beach.

“Umbrellas are a better way of sharing the beach than tents,” said De Risi. And as for eating on the beach, even some city commissioners didn’t know about the decade-old prohibition.

Commissioner Heidi O’Sheehan was shocked to learn about the city ordinance. “I am embarrassed that we even have that on the books,” she said.

O’Sheehan said the city should not be telling people they can not eat on a public beach.

But the other commissioners said they were less worried about coolers filled with sandwiches and beverages than they were about barbecue grills and Sterno heaters.

If anyone wants to picnic, they are supposed to go to designated spots.

While Hollywood is not alone in having rules limiting where people can eat and drink — Fort Lauderdale also has an ordinance on the books — Dania Beach and Miami-Dade don’t have the same restrictions.

Carbon, who brought a blue cooler with juice boxes and water to the beach, called the ordinance “ridiculous.’’
“If they told me I couldn’t have [the cooler] they wouldn’t even get my money in the meter,” she said.

The city does not break out types of violations, but last year there were about 500 citations issued on the beach for everything from open container violations to skateboarding on the beach. Violating the beach ordinance comes with a $50 fine for the first offense, $100 for a second offense and $200 for the third time.
As to prohibiting drinking water on the beach: “It’s not something we enforce,” said city spokeswoman Raelin Storey.

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