ID requirements at beach upset taxpayers
By Dawn De Busk
NAPLES — Most people enjoying time in the sun near a lake might say, “The beach rules!”
However, for some Naples taxpayers, “the beach rules” has an entirely different meaning.
Perhaps, it is not as much the rules at the beach as how those rules are enforced.
On Monday, at least one-dozen residents shared with the Naples Board of Selectmen their upsetting experiences at the Town Beach in recent years.
One of the most frequent complaints was being turned away from the beach because the person did not have the proper identification (ID) to prove their residency in Naples. Or a longtime resident was asked to repark along Route 302 because their vehicle did not have the proper decal on their windshield.
Some of those individuals who have been kicked off the town beach for failure to show proper ID are familiar faces in the community: Business owners, local volunteers, teenagers who have grown up in this small town.
It is difficult to separate people’s frustrations with the Town Beach rules from the person enforcing the rules, the Naples Recreation Director Harvey Price.
Naples resident Doug Bogdan, who video-records the meetings, spoke at the tail end of the public participation time.
“Half of the comments are related to the rules. It is not necessarily the person who needs to change, but the rules,” Bogdan said.
Some people in the audience had suggested that it might be time for Naples residents to review the rules for its town-owned property.
On Tuesday, Chairman Bob Caron II said, “Maybe, it is time to review the town rules that govern town property.”
The selectmen did not publically discuss the issues brought up on Monday nor did the board respond verbally to what was said.
People’s concerns that related directly to Price could not legally be discussed except in executive session since that is a personnel matter.
However, it is possible that items relating to town beach rules will land on a future agenda.
“All the stuff that was brought up on Monday — they are all ideas. I wrote them down,” Caron II said. “I jotted down a lot of notes. I will probably bring them up as old business.”
“The ‘what’s next’ is we bring it up at the next board meeting in two weeks,” he said.
“I haven’t thought about the next meeting yet. I have to review my notes as I always do, talk with Ephrem (Paraschak) and plan the agenda,” Caron II said.
According to the rules for the Naples Town Beach, children 16 years old and younger are not allowed to swim without adult supervision. The town does not hire a lifeguard for the town beach swimming area.
A few of the parents or grandparents who spoke Monday night said that Price had told the teenagers, ranging in age from 13 to 15, that they had to leave the beach. On some occasions, the threat of calling the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office was made, parents said.
Other teens were asked to leave because they did not have identification that they could present proving their residency. Typically, people in that age group do not have a photo ID unless they have a learner’s permit from the Maine Division of Motor Vehicles.