Beach rules contradict Naples town ordinance
By Dawn De Busk
NAPLES — One resident brought to the attention of the town’s elected officials a contradiction between a Naples town ordinance and the posted rules for the town beach.
During the public participation period of the Naples Board of Selectmen meeting, resident Jim Turpin spoke about “Kent’s Landing and whether or not it is a welcoming place.”
“Have all of you had a chance to read the 19 beach rules, and the town ordinance,” Turpin asked the board.
According to the town ordinance that was adopted after Kent’s Landing was purchased in 2010, children who are 12 years old and younger cannot be left unsupervised at the beach.
However, the Town Beach Rules, which are presented in a flyer, state that children 16-years-old and younger must be supervised by a parent, a guardian, or someone who is at least 18 years old.
Turpin referred to statements made by Bob Semple at selectmen’s meeting two weeks earlier. Semple had tried to drop off his two teenage grandchildren and a neighbor at the beach while he ran some errands.
According to Semple’s account, which he shared on Sept. 19, “I took my two 13-year-old grandchildren and our 16-year-old neighbor to the town beach to swim around 6 p.m. I was told by the man who runs the beach that I could not leave the kids there. I was told the two 13-year olds have to leave, and the 16-year old can stay. He said, ‘I’ll have to call the police on you.’”
He was referring to Naples Recreation Director Harvey Price.
“When he says he’ll call the police, most people walk away. If he called the police on everyone he said he would, you’d have the police chief here saying, ‘Give me some relief,’” Semple said. “I feel like the town is unfriendly, and it is becoming a police state.”
On Monday, Turpin told the board that Semple had been within his rights as a town resident using the beach.
“Per our ordinance, he was okay to drop off the 16-year-old and the two 13-year-olds,” Turpin said.
“It would be nice and inviting if kids 12 years and older could be left unsupervised,” Turpin said.
He asked how it came to be that rules are being enforced that run counter with a town ordinance that was adopted after the approval of voters at Town Meeting.
Later during the meeting, Selectman Christine Powers addressed the issues brought forward by Turpin.
“Talking about leaving or dropping off kids unattended, I’d like to put on an old hat (I wore) when I was the librarian in Naples,” she said.
“There is a slippery slope for dropping off kids unattended,” she said.
Turpin said, “But, the ordinance is the law; and we’ve been abiding by another rule that is not the law.”
Powers said it was time to look at the beach rules.