Weary Residents Want Solutions for Disorderly Behavior at Sunrise Beach

Police have engaged in 160 checks of the Sunrise Beach Club this year

Martin O’Donnell is a concerned parent simply making sure that his 7-year-old daughter does not have to ride her bike in and out of used condoms and beer cans.

At the Sunrise Beach Club on Capstan Drive, the beach is technically closed from dusk to dawn but people tend to congregate there at all hours of the night, O’Donnell and other residents of the area said. From lewd behavior, drinking and supposed drug deals to thefts, property damage and illegal parking, something has to be done, said O’Donnell, who often phones the police and takes matters into his own hands by “politely” asking the trespassers to leave.

“This is about kids. This isn’t about adults. We don’t want to worry that they’re going to run into beer cans, condoms, drugs or get mugged," he said.

Township officials and the beach club say they haven't received complaints of errant behavior although township police have responded well more than 100 times this year to the area, on self-initiated security checks and in response to resident complaints.

There have been incidents of kids throwing the picnic tables that are set underneath the pavilion and even a swing set that was snapped in half. O’Donnell donated that $5,000 swing set to the Beach Club.

Another resident, who declined to provide a name for fear of retaliation, reported that during broad daylight, a couple parked on the street beside their family party and started engaging in sexual acts. A third resident who also wished to remain anonymous reported that he had to intervene when a man was beating his girlfriend.

Those living in close proximity to the Sunrise Beach Club have essentially imposed a neighborhood watch program.

“You can cause so many problems but nothing’s being done,” O’Donnell said. “We’re trying to protect our family members.”

Although Mayor Mark Dykoff hasn’t received complaints, he said the best solution would be to “beef up patrol."

Police response, beach club responsibilities

“The Lacey Township Police Department maintains a policy of responding to all calls for service utilizing prioritization when dealing with times of limited availability of patrol personnel,” Police Chief William Nally said.

From Jan. 1 through Sept. 21, police responded 84 times to Sunrise Beach Club. Most of the response was for property checks with a few suspicious autos, according to an incident report for 5000 Capstan Drive, Forked River.

Police have engaged in 130 self-initiated, security checks of the Sunrise Beach Club as well as 30 self-initiated and/or citizen-initiated reports of suspicious incidents or persons — two of which were juvenile problems — from Jan. 1 through Oct. 9, Nally said.

“The considerable resources dedicated to the Sunrise Beach Club property has come as a result of the Lacey Township Police Department being responsive to the requests of the residents in the area,” he said.

Jack Nosti, president of the Beach Club said he was unaware of the problems and hasn’t received complaints.

“There are signs down there. They’re not allowed on the beach,” he said. “We’ve put lights on in the pavilion to discourage and keep it visible so people wouldn’t be there in the dark.”

In the past, the Beach Club did have problems with vandalism, he said.

“Vandalism kind of runs in spurts down there,” he said. “With the age of the kids growing in the area, sometimes we suffered vandalism over the years.

“There are problems all over the township. I don’t know that it’s unique to that area,” he said.

The Beach Club is not exclusive, Nosti pointed out. All Lacey residents are encouraged to utilize the pavilion and the beach.

“We encourage people to use it because it’s helping us as much as it’s helping them,” he said. “They’re a little closer to call the police department.”

The Beach Club does intend to revamp the playground in the near future, he said. “We try to keep the area as clean and neat as possible,” he said.

But of the curfew not being enforced, Nosti said there is a sign but the gate is always unlocked.

“Over the years, it costs us more damage by locking the small gate,” he said. Kids get over it and still cause damage.

The gate that was installed around the Beach Club approximately 10 years ago was really put up to deter geese from using the property, not people, he said.

“The kids aren’t allowed on the property after dusk,” he said. “That was required by the township when we put the pavilion up. Police have the authority to impose a curfew there.”

Curfew, parking concerns

But the responsibility of enforcing the curfew is actually a Beach Club matter, township Administrator and Municipal Clerk Veronica Laureigh said. Laureigh also hasn’t received complaints about the area.

“I personally have not heard from any residents there complaining about anything, so I do not have it on any agenda to be addressed and not sure if it can be addressed. The no parking is already in place,” she said.

The Planning Board imposed a curfew on the beach when the Beach Club submitted an application for the pavilion, Laureigh said. But because it is Beach Club property, enforcing the curfew is not the responsibility of the township.

The small portion of the road off of Capstan Drive that leads to the Beach Club is a public road that the township maintains, she said. Although there is one “no parking” sign, according to the ordinance, both sides of the road is a “no parking” zone and has been since 1977. No parking is enforced between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Nally explained that such a violation requires a court appearance, involves a fine decided by the judge in Municipal Court and court costs.

“Most instances of parking complaints have involved the vehicle(s) departing the area prior to an officer’s arrival,” he said. “When officers were able to interact with persons who were sitting within their vehicles, the parties were advised of the violation and in each instance the vehicles complied with the officer’s direction without incident.”

A request has been made to the Department of Public Works to install an additional sign at the eastern-most end of the road, Nally said.

“I think the response is twofold,” O’Donnell said, adding that both the Beach Club and the police have to be proactive. “Somebody needs to step up and cooperate and make sure its safe.”

Possible solutions

Residents have made various recommendations that they feel could improve the situation, including additional “no parking” signs, locking the fence, more police drive-bys and possibly even adding a large gate to block the road to the Beach Club.

“The road again is a public access road so adding a fence and gate most likely could be in violation of the new DEP public access rules since it does go out to the bay,” Laureigh said.

The worst scenario would be a Beach Club security car, the residents said.

A request also is being made to representatives of the Sunrise Beach Club to post “No Trespassing” signs throughout the area to allow for enforcement of the trespassing statute during periods the gates are not properly closed, Nally said.

“Currently, the signs establishing the rules for usage of the private property, inclusive of a reference to “dues” being paid up to date, are unlikely to be sufficient for prosecution in criminal court,” the chief said.

Nally encourages residents with concerns beyond the response of police officers to contact the administration of the police department.

“The Lacey Township Police Department will continue to be responsive to citizens needs while working within the confines of the law,” he said.

O’Donnell is hoping for awareness and cooperation between the Beach Club and police to come to a solution, he said.

“I don’t blame the cops. Let’s be honest, they have a whole town to patrol,” he said. “I wish they would just work together to solve this.”

Frederick John LaVergne for Congress October 13, 2012 at 11:19 PM
Get involved with our youth - teach them. I spent years as a Scout leader...on hiatus now because I am involved in the run for public office, but still there as an educator for MB's as asked. When you find yourself asking "When will somebody do something" - remember....YOU'RE somebody - aren't you?
jimbojones3911 October 14, 2012 at 12:08 AM
coming out of your house Odonnel SCREAMING to leave is not going to solve anything. how about asking them what they are doing out at this hour? Conversing with them instead of immediately confronting them? They are obviously doing KID STUFF because their parents do not care where they are or what they are doing. YOURE NOT HELPING BY FIGHTING WITH THEM
jimbojones3911 October 14, 2012 at 12:10 AM
thats funny odonnell because there is a police report that accurately documents the time of this incident at 2pm.... broad daylight if you cant figure that one out. the 40 year old man had a weapon and there were TWO MINORS JOKING AROUND. who by the way had to RUN TO THEIR CAR TO GET AWAY. awesome I see you are going to repeat get your facts straight a million times. how productive
jimbojones3911 October 14, 2012 at 12:14 AM
frederick John Lavergne for congress YES i completely agree, it is time some of the more immature adults near the beach to get to know our youth, maybe try to help them instead of using threats to get them to leave. Odonnell says that no one has ever threatened a minor especially with a weapon.... then can I ask you something? why is there a police report that documents the entire incident at 2pm in the afternoon, broad daylight? when hes saying no one asks anybody to leave until after dark. seems like he is covering for his neighbors reputation.... the ones that wants to remain anonymous... hmmm i wonder why
Martin ODonnell October 14, 2012 at 12:23 AM
I know nothing of an incident at 2pm in the afternoon. Why would anyone ask someone to leave at 2pm? It wasnt me and it wasnt any of the people that i know. If you are so sure of yourself, please bring the report to the meeting next Friday, i would be more than happy to discuss it with you. In addition, I have never been anything but cordial to people when asking the to abide by the LAWS that are set in motion by the town and the Beach Association. Yes there have been times when the other party has gotten aggressive with me verbally and i put them in their place. I never was the aggressor and never will be. Just trying to enforce what goes on in my neighborhood. Lets talk at the meeting...even though we might not agree on some facts, it seems that we may agree there is a problem and there definitely is.
jimbojones3911 October 14, 2012 at 12:25 AM
wow, you do need a better hobby... putting KIDS in their place???? with what? a rock perhaps? NICCCCEEE JOBBB PAUL BLART
jimbojones3911 October 14, 2012 at 12:27 AM
the reference was to an ineffective mall cop.... who did not really accomplish much and was unsuccessful at keeping his mall safe
Martin ODonnell October 14, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Well now i know who i am dealing with and flatly refuse to comment any further. I had no idea that they let a 14 year old use his computer this much. Fun while it lasted, but no substance. Thanks for wasting my time. Sorry to all of you that read all this garbage. My mistake for thinking that i was dealing with someone with even an ounce of credibility.....lol
jimbojones3911 October 14, 2012 at 12:33 AM
yea are you going to threaten me now? being as im a minor as well? makes you think doesnt it
JOHNNY Done it October 14, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Either the way the minors should not be tresspassing You learn that big word in school ,.,Do it in front of your own property ,I am sure those innocent minors did nothing to pervoke that...accidents happen..............................
JOHNNY Done it October 14, 2012 at 02:48 AM
AGREED,,,,If you were doing something that you were not getting in trouble for,, you would be doing it in front of your house. Families need to spend more time with there children ( Does not pertain to all) instead of letting them out unsupervised like a dog to crap on someone elses property
Frederick John LaVergne for Congress October 14, 2012 at 05:36 AM
Makes me think your parents are too permissive. It's "nice" that you form your own opinions, and your right to speak them is guaranteed by the same Constitution that protects the adults, but ad hominem (use Merriam-Webster, not wiki, when you check that one) attacks serve no purpose and weaken your argument. Debate is an art, not a brawl. One day, you will be an adult. Practicing for it now would be a good idea.
Frederick John LaVergne for Congress October 14, 2012 at 05:42 AM
14? Perfect age for Boy Scouts. There's a place to hone your values. (Even they need a little re-direction, of late, but nobody's perfect). Start with the Scout Oath and Law, and the Outdoor Code. Read them - tell me what you think...Do these seem like the values you want to hold when you reach manhood? I bet that they are. A wise man once said "Seek first to understand - THEN to be understood". A not so wise man once said "Stand for what's right, or settle for what's left". Learn the legacy you own in your Constitution, and in your history. Be a better man, every day. The second guy? That was me. The first was a fellow named Steve Covey. Your parents will probably know who he was, or maybe their parents. Maybe I'm getting older than I think. Learn. Learn. Learn some more. Think for yourself. Good luck, James.
frank rizzo October 15, 2012 at 05:25 AM
sounds like jimbo jones needs a shot gun loaded with a little rock salt to give him an attitude adjustment. yeah ' minors " who are little kids but still drive and when someone sees what he thinks is someone beating a woman in a car he has every right to call the cops. better to be sure than sorry later if no police were called. jimbo and acharlie need to get a job instead of tossing rubbers out of cars and threatening people who live there as well as making it unsafe for little kids who live there. as for the lacey cops they should be patrolling down there instead of wasting their time dealing with shop lifting calls at walmart or having police group meetings at the diners in town. i drove to the diner on rt 9 at 3 am and all 4 cop cars were in the parking lot as 4 cops sat inside having their eggs and bacon. and yet after 100 calls to bring them down there they still need to be called before they drive down there.
frank rizzo October 15, 2012 at 05:27 AM
and jack nasty should be doing something besides organizing spaghetti dinners for the republican club and instead doing the job he chose to accept.
frank rizzo October 15, 2012 at 05:38 AM
theres nothing more pathetic than a 17 yr old who is already driving who says ' you cant threaten me i,m just a minor" . a good kick in the ass would remedy the situation. jimbo here is just another example of what happens when people reproduce without knowing anything about being parents. much like these teenagers giving little kids a sex show from their cars every day down there. hello car 54 where are you?
M'Linda Kula October 15, 2012 at 04:56 PM
@Mr. Martin ODonnell, You are in good company. A group of MOTHERS, trying to clean-up Lacey Twp.'s drug / corruption problem had been accused of being a vigilante group. The DRUG HOUSES in the area of Forked River Beach and the multiple METH LABS near Sunrise are NOW a matter for the FEDERAL Authorities. Lacey Twp. has HOPE in it's future.
kazoome October 15, 2012 at 08:01 PM
invest in a cheap video camera.......tape there license plates and what illegal acts they are doing.......I bet most of the kids would be scared away just being taped......and stop fighting with the kids....Im sure most are good kids just hanging out......again the ones doing illegal stuff tape record them and there license plates and show it to the police
Matty October 16, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Come on Lacey let's get it done install cameras.Just wait till White Castle opens they are going to need a place to get high.
mp October 16, 2012 at 01:23 AM
mp October 16, 2012 at 01:30 AM
i lived on capstan all my life and have been going to the park for years before this guy martin odonnel even moved there a couple years ago. Sometimes i like to go there at night and just get fresh air, smoke a cig, and look at the water. But the police come everytime. And then they leave me alone because I;m doing nothing wrong. This guy is wasting their time when they could be out stopping real crime. And this is the cleanest park in the whole town Ive never seen beer or condoms trust me. Now the park looks stupid with all the signs and warnings hanging everywhere. Good job Oddonnel. He thinks he owns the park.
Martin ODonnell October 16, 2012 at 02:26 AM
I don't really give much credit to people that hide behind two letter names. The bottom line is that you are in denial and/or don't have your facts straight. However, I will be more than happy to discuss this with you and let you know exactly what goes on there and you can speak to others that get woken up at 1am and 2am...even on weeknights. How about you come with me one night and sit for a few hours. Please don't comment when you don't know what you are talking about. My neighbor and I are the ones that clean up the beer cans and moved the broken swingset. My kids are the one that stained the swingset that I donated, 10 days before it was torn apart. The picture that you see of the condom is an actual shot from the road next to the beach. Ask Otto, the guy who goes down there with a stick with a nail stuck in the end to pick up the used condoms. You obviously didn't see the weather vane missing from the pavilion either or have your sons car broken into like on of the neighbors. Why should you get any more credibility than me because you have been living here longer...stay with the times, things change and they have been since I moved in....its gotten worse and it needs to stop. I agree with you, that it would be great to go down there just to get some fresh air and most of the troublemakers aren't even from around here.
Martin ODonnell October 16, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Again, instead of commenting on what a great job I did, how about a constructive suggestion or are you one of those people that just sling mud behind cover. I didn't ask the town to put up all those signs, they did it as a reaction to the article. All I asked is that they enforce the one that was there. There is a reason that the town demanded the beach closed from dawn til dusk when it was established and this is it.
jimmyboy October 16, 2012 at 09:05 AM
but you havent done a good job....
jimmie October 16, 2012 at 09:05 AM
but you havent done a good job....
jimmie October 16, 2012 at 09:07 AM
wow, threatening a "minor of 14 years old" is tough..... I love that you guys got this mad at a 14 year old. kind of pathetic. a real man does not fight with children and you have proved it through your actions. NICE! JOB!
kevin logan October 16, 2012 at 07:38 PM
how much you wanna bet jimbo, acharlie, mp and jimmy boy are all the same punk who needs to go find a job insteading turning the beach into his own personal condom filled sand box.?
Martin ODonnell October 17, 2012 at 12:11 AM
I think you should come to the next meeting and bring that up! I agree on the signs. All they needed was a single sign that said no parking dawn to dusk either side here to corner. Hopefully we will see you there.
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