Rehoboth Beach Bans Use of Tents, Fire

WASHINGTON — Beachgoers will have to duck under regular beach umbrellas for some shade when they visit Rehoboth Beach in Delaware starting May 15.

The City of Rehoboth Beach adopted an ordinance Friday that bans the use of tents, tarps, cabanas, pavilions, sport-brellas or any material mounted on support on the beach.

The new law defines what an acceptable beach umbrella should be: a circular shade no greater than 8 feet in diameter, collapsible, with hinged ribs radiating from a central pole that is no greater than 7 feet 6 inches in height. The umbrella must not have grounding lines, ropes or sides.

Baby tents — up to 36 inches high, 36 inches wide and 36 inches deep — may be used to shade infants and small children.

Having a beach wedding or planning a big beach blow out? You may use a tent as long as you get a special event permit.

In addition, the ordinance prohibits the use of grills or any cooking and heating device using fire.

Public safety concerns over fires and the number of tents on the beach drove the adoption of the new law, according to the city’s statement. City officials told Cape Gazette that Rehoboth Beach Patrol and the Rehoboth Beach Police Department were concerned over the increase of “tent cities” — groups of canopies gathered together — that “block the views and pathways of lifeguards” and other beachgoers. The blanket of tents made it hard to see if people were doing illegal activities or drinking alcohol, and it was “unsightly,” officials said.

Cape Gazette reported that warnings will be given to first-time violations but repeated offenses will be subject to a fine.

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