Jersey Shore Town Reaches “Capacity,” Mayor Says No More People

Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty cited public safety for the temporary road restriction.


It has been a busy summer in Belmar, New Jersey, already, and it’s not even summer yet. Late in May, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stopped by for a visit. Then last week, a scary looking shark washed up on the beach. And now the tiny Jersey Shore town is making headlines by effectively closing to tourists on Sunday.

Around 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, Mayor Matt Doherty closed the town’s exit from Route 35, the primary artery that feeds tourists into Belmar, which is two towns south of Asbury Park. (If you walked straight up the beach, you’d be at the legendary Stone Pony in about an hour.) Only residents with identification would be allowed in; no outsiders. Doherty took to Twitter to make the announcement:

Calling Belmar small is an understatement. It’s less than two square miles in area, making it about one fifth the size of Ocean City, New Jersey. And on Sunday, the town with a population of somewhere around 6,000 was absolutely crushed by waves of tourists.

Belmar always gets a good crowd when the weather is as picture perfect as it was on Sunday. But on this particular weekend, Belmar also hosted the NJ Seafood Festival, and organizers say that more than 200,000 stopped by to chow down on crabs and clam chowder. The mayor later said he made the decision in the interest of public safety and only after speaking with police.

Twitter reacted swiftly —as it tends to do — to the mayor’s announcement:

Four hours after his original announcement, the mayor returned to Twitter to let everyone know that Belmar was once again open for business:

Considering where Belmar was just a couple of years ago — Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012 — too many people is a great problem to have.

Follow @VictorFiorillo on Twitter.