TOMS RIVER – In response to busloads of children arriving at township parks, the Township Council passed an ordinance that would require large groups to get permits to use the facilities.
The ordinance would only apply to any groups between 25 and 50 people, according to the ordinance. They would need to obtain a permit to use the facility from the Department of Recreation. The ordinance applies to any park, playground, or recreational facility.
“It concerns public safety,” township administrator Paul Shives said. “There have been groups of schoolchildren brought to facilities, sometimes in buses. There are a finite number of people that can use a facility safely.”
Parents have also called with concerns that there is “little to no supervision” of the children, who, according to the parents, greatly outnumber the adult staff, he said.
The permit process is not meant to block access, but to make the facilities safe for everyone, he said.
A group would have to apply to the Director of Recreation to use the facility at least 14 business days prior to the requested date, according to the ordinance. The director has a right to deny the permit for a number of reasons, including if the activity would compromise the public health and safety, or detract from the use of the park by the general public.
The names of the adults supervising the children, and information about the vehicles being used for transportation must be provided. There must be at least one adult for every 10 minors. Proof of insurance must be shown.
There will be an application fee of $50. A clean-up fee of $50 is required per session. There are two sessions available per day.
The permit does not entitle a group exclusive use of a facility.