July 09, 2013
WILDWOOD, NJ - The Board of Commissioners of the City of Wildwood has established a dress code for visitors to the city’s world-famous Boardwalk. Ordinance 4-2.4, which takes effect Tuesday, July 9, 2013, requires that all people over the age of 12 wear shoes and shirts on the Boardwalk, and also refrain from allowing their pants or swim trunks to sag more than three inches below the waist. The so-called “saggy pants” ordinance, which has garnered nationwide press coverage, came in response to complaints from visitors and residents, said Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr.
“People who live here and families who have been coming here for generations have called me and stopped me on the street to say, “I love Wildwood, but I’m not going to come here if my children and grandchildren have to look at kids on the Boardwalk with their butts hanging out’,” said Troiano. “Tourism is the lifeblood of our community, the fuel that drives our economy. When the people speak, I have to take action.”
Troiano addressed comments that the ordinance inhibits freedom of expression. “
“A dress code is reasonable and appropriate for a family-friendly resort,” said the mayor. “Other U.S. cities have taken action against the saggy-pants fashion, including New York City, New Orleans, Chicago, Atlanta and Detroit. During the 2008 presidential campaign, even President Barack Obama called on young people to pull up their pants and ‘have some sense and respect for other people.’
“To call this a violation of our First Amendment rights diminishes the very idea of civil rights and of the freedoms we celebrate every day as Americans,” Troiano said. “All we want you to do is pull up your pants in public.”
Violators will be subject to removal from the Boardwalk, a citation, and fines from $25 to $100 for the first offense, and up to $200 for subsequent offenses. The court may also order offenders to complete up to 40 hours of community service.