Official Regulations

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ARTICLE IV. – FREEMAN PARK

Sec. 11-43. – Description of Freeman Park.

“Freeman Park” at Carolina Beach is a park operated by the Town of Carolina Beach under an interlocal agreement with the County of New Hanover and in accord with the statutory and ordinal powers of the town to operate, manage and finance a public park located on the beaches and coastal shoreline public trust resources in this state. The location of Freeman Park is primarily in the extra-territorial jurisdiction of the Town of Carolina Beach within an unincorporated area of New Hanover County and portion to the south being located on a tract owned by the town and within the town’s geographic boundaries. In particular, the park is located on that strand of public trust ocean beach and coastal shoreline constituting the outer perimeter of the peninsula located generally north of that point where Carolina Beach Avenue North ends at the entryway of the park located at the northern town limits and on a parcel owned by the town. The park land is primarily located between (a) the mean high water mark, which is generally located at the first stable line of vegetation maintained by the town; and (b) the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Carolina Beach Inlet to the north, and the Atlantic Intra-Coastal Waterway (AICW) to the west. The park is not located on any portion of private lands that are not subject to the public trust. A fence separates the public trust portion of the beach from those portions of private property on the peninsula located landward of the mean high water mark and not subject to the public trust. Numerous “no trespassing” markers are located along the most landward boundary of the park. Public pedestrian and vehicle ingress/egress for Freeman Park is via that parcel of land owned by the town at the end of Carolina Beach Avenue North. The public may also gain access to the park via the public trust waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Carolina Beach Inlet, and the AICW. A map of Freeman Park will be kept by the Town Clerk of the Town of Carolina Beach for the purposes of reference in regard to this section.

Sec. 11-44. – Freeman Park Management Plan.

The town intends for the Freeman Park Management Plan to protect the environment and public interest in Freeman Park and to discourage unauthorized entry onto private property adjacent to Freeman Park by members of public using the park. The Freeman Park Management Plan shall apply to all vehicles, vessel(s), owners and guests entering Freeman Park. Any violators of federal law(s) or regulations, North Carolina laws or regulations, New Hanover County Codes or Ordinances or Carolina Beach Codes or Ordinances would result in cause for eviction from Freeman Park and revocation of theFreeman Park Vehicular Access Permit and shall be grounds for immediate prosecution under the provisions of North Carolina statutes and/or county or town codes or ordinances.

Sec. 11-45. – Liability.

The Town of Carolina Beach assumes no liability for the use of Freeman Park. The town neither assumes nor accepts responsibility for personal possessions, vehicles, vessels or their contents or use while said vehicles and vessels are located within Freeman Park. Persons using Freeman Park shall assume all risk of personal injury and damage and loss of their property. The town assumes no risk due to accident, fire, theft, vandalism or acts of God.

Sec. 11-46. – Careless and reckless driving.

North Carolina Motor Vehicle and Traffic Laws apply in Freeman Park. Vehicles must be operated in a safe manner that does not endanger or jeopardize the safety of the driver, passengers and other people and wildlife at Freeman Park. Careless and reckless driving of any kind is not permitted. (An example of careless and reckless driving is the practice of using the vehicle wheels to cut circles in the sand, commonly referred to as “making doughnuts.”)

Sec. 11-47. – Only operational vehicles.

Only operational vehicles that are legally licensed, insured and properly inspected and in compliance with North Carolina Statutes particularly the operational and safety standards shall be allowed within Freeman Park. Motorcycles, ATVs, trailers (including boat and campers) are prohibited from being operated and/or parked within Freeman Park. This section shall not apply to town officials, emergency response personnel, sea turtle program volunteers and others as allowed by the town manager. This is to insure that only passenger vehicles that are functional and operational are allowed in the park, in the interest of public safety and to minimize the environmental impact.

Sec. 11-48. – Repairs within Freeman Park.

Major repairs of vehicles, including any activity that could result in deposition of any materials into the sound waters or onto the beach, are strictly prohibited since significant water quality violations or other environmental violations would result in an adverse impact on public health.

Sec. 11-49. – Abandonment.

If a vehicle is left unattended for more than twenty-four (24) continuous hours without giving prior notification to the Carolina Beach Police Department, the vehicle shall be considered abandoned. If the vehicle is determined abandoned, it may be stored in a secured location during which time the police department shall make a reasonable effort to locate the owner. If the vehicle is not reclaimed within thirty (30) days, the vehicle shall be sold under process prescribed by North Carolina Statutes at fair market value which will cover the cost of towing and any fees due for storage.

Sec. 11-50. – Public vehicular area.

  1. Restricted areas. Closed areas refer to areas landward of markers, fences and other visible marking devices that establish boundaries which prohibit entry by vehicles and pedestrians. At no time shall any vehicle or pedestrian be allowed to cross into these restricted areas. All dunes and vegetation areas are included in these prohibited areas. Vehicles will not be driven between the water line and high tide crest (this area is commonly known or referred to as the west sand area).
  2. Authorized areas. Areas are established for operation of motor vehicles east of markers, fences and other visible marking devices that establish boundaries for prohibited areas. This public vehicular area (PVA) may be utilized by permitted vehicles to travel throughout authorized areas of Freeman Park. Vehicles operated in the PVA are subject to all state and local ordinances. At no time will vehicles travel within ten (10) feet of any dune or vegetation line regardless of markers, boundary lines, etc.

Sec. 11-51. – Speed limit.

All areas of Freeman Park, including incorporated and non-incorporated parcels or areas, shall have a speed limit of fifteen (15) miles per hour.

Sec. 11-52. – Clinging to motor vehicles.

No person shall ride on a vehicle except in a manner in which the manufacturer of the vehicle intended. Examples of this type of activity include riding on a bumper, riding on a tailgate, or riding on the hood of a vehicle. North Carolina State Laws that apply to transporting passengers in the bed of a truck along public streets shall apply to Freeman Park.

Sec. 11-53. – Camping. – See Above

Sec. 11-54. – Campfires.

  1. Small campfires are allowed at Freeman Park beginning at Marker 6 4 and extending north to the end of the park. The campfire must be contained within a fire pit or container that may not exceed three (3) feet in diameter. Each fire pit must be brought into the park by the visitor and shall be removed following its use. All fire remains and debris must be picked up and placed in approved ASH CANS or removed from the beach. Failure to do so will result in a fine.  No fires of any kind are permitted south of Marker
  2. All campfires will be subject to regulations of the Town of Carolina Beach Fire Code. Campfire privileges can be revoked for failure to follow any regulation as outlined in this Code. Fires may not be left unattended and must be extinguished with water, not sand. Only natural firewood can be burned. Burning trash or construction debris is not allowed. No campfires are allowed within ten (10) feet of the dune or the vegetation line.
  3. The Carolina Beach Fire Chief, town manager or other emergency personnel have the authority to prohibit fires on Freeman Park at any time.

Sec. 11-55. – Sand dunes.

Walking or driving on the sand dunes is strictly prohibited. Freeman Park permit privileges may be revoked or a citation issued for violating this section. Property owners in Freeman Park are exempt from this section.

Sec. 11-56. – Litter. Littering in Freeman Park in any form is strictly prohibited. Glass containers are prohibited. All litter must be taken from the park upon leaving. Burning trash or debris is strictly prohibited and will result in fines. Cigarette and cigar butts are considered litter and must be disposed of in public receptacles.

  1. Only normal camping and beach furniture will be allowed onto Freeman Park. No commonly known household furniture such as (couches, chairs, non-inflatable mattress, box springs, etc.)
  2. It is the responsibility of all individuals at Freeman Park to carry away all trash and waste products, upon leaving the park.

Sec. 11-57. – Human and animal waste.

  1. It shall be unlawful for any person to urinate or deposit any human waste or animal waste in Freeman Park except in an approved sanitary facility. No person(s) shall possess or use any portable human waste device.
  2. It shall be unlawful for any owner or keeper of any domestic animals, who deposits waste upon public land or property, shall be held responsible for such action and shall be held responsible for cleanup or have cleaned up said waste immediately following the occurrence. An owner or custodian of an animal will have on them or near their person a device such as a plastic bag, or other suitable plastic or paper container, that can be used to fully clean up and contain animals waste until it can be disposed of in an appropriate container. Such a device must be produced and shown, upon request, to anyone authorized to enforce these ordinances.

Sec. 11-58. – Wildlife.

  1. Sea turtles are under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, therefore, it is unlawful to harass, harm, capture or collect sea turtles and live or dead hatchlings, juvenile or adult sea turtles. Violators can be prosecuted under criminal or civil laws and assessed penalties. Extreme caution shall be used while driving on the beach in order to avoid turtle nests.
  2. Feeding of or disturbing wildlife is prohibited.
  3. Endangered species is animal or plant species that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant part of its range as defined by federal statute.
  4. Horses and or livestock are not permitted in the park except as allowed in chapter 3, section 3-5 of the Carolina Beach Town Code.

Sec. 11-59. – Dogs and other commonly accepted animals and fowl on public rights-of-way, public lands, property and beaches.

Any person, persons, owner, or keeper of “commonly accepted domestic animals or fowls”, as defined in chapter 3 section 3-2, herein referred to as “animal” shall have the animal on a leash while in Freeman Park from April 1st  to September 30th.

Between October 1st and March 31st, animals will be allowed off of a leash in Freeman Park so long as they remain under voice command and the owner is within a reasonable distance from the pet.

The owner or keeper of any such animal who harms or causes offenses or damages to the public, or who deposits waste upon public land or property, shall be held responsible for such action and shall be held responsible for cleanup or have cleaned up said waste immediately following the occurrence.

An owner or custodian of an animal will have on or near their person a device such as a plastic bag, or other suitable plastic or paper container, that can be used to fully clean-up and contain dog waste until it can be disposed of in an appropriate container. Such a device must be produced and shown, upon request, to anyone authorized to enforce these ordinances.

Sec. 11-60. – Surfing and other water-related activities.

  1. In order to promote the general health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the town and its tourists from being injured while using the Atlantic Ocean within Freeman Park, any person while surfing and having in his possession any surfboard, boogie board, ski-board, jet ski, wave runner, skip pan or any other device used to propel such person through the waters excepting surf mats and beach rafts shall be subject to the following regulations:
    • Personal watercraft vehicles shall be prohibited in the surf area beginning at the mean high water mark and extending fifteen hundred (1,500) feet eastward into the Atlantic Ocean within the corporate beach limits of the town and its extraterritorial jurisdiction, except that town lifeguards and emergency personnel shall be exempted from this provision. Beaching or anchoring on-shore will be allowed from Marker 22 to Marker 26. Beaching and anchoring shall only be done in a safe manner and at a safe speed. See chapter 10, article V for operating regulations concerning personal watercraft.
    • Any person while surfing within the limits of Freeman Park with any surfboard and boogie boards shall have attached to his ankle a strap or shock cord of sufficient strength attached to the apparatus to prevent it from leaving the person in order to avoid injury to others.
    • No surfer shall be nearer to any fishing pier in the Atlantic Ocean than five hundred (500) feet on either side of such pier within the town or its extraterritorial jurisdiction. Town lifeguards shall designate and mark with appropriate no surfing signs the restricted area on each side of the ocean piers.
    • All surfers shall, when advised by a town official, move to another location for surfing when it is deemed unsafe because of congestion of bathers in any one area.

Sec. 11-61. – Permits.

  1. All permit decals must be displayed appropriately. The annual permit must be displayed on the lower left hand corner of the front windshield of the passenger side of the vehicle. One day permits must be prominently displayed on the dashboard of the vehicle. Permits are not transferable to another vehicle. A permit may be revoked without refund as a result of the violation of any local or state laws or ordinances.
  2. The daily and annual fee shall be established by the annual budget of the Town of Carolina Beach.

Sec. 11-62. – Fees.

Every vehicle entering Freeman Park shall be obligated to obtain a permit. Annual permits will be sold at convenient locations throughout the town. Daily permits will not be valid for more than twenty-four (24) consecutive hours. They shall expire at 10:00 a.m. the next morning and the vehicle must be removed from the park at that time.

Special permit fees shall be set by the town manager.

Sec. 11-63. – Hours.

Freeman Park shall remain open twenty-four (24) hours a day seven (7) days a week unless a decision is made by the Town Council of the Town of Carolina Beach to close it. In addition and due to an extraordinary event or occurrence, the town manager, fire chief or police chief may close Freeman Park without notice. Public notification of any such closure will be made by the town via the media. Property owners in Freeman Park are exempt from this section.

Sec. 11-64. – Conduct of visitors.

Visitors to Freeman Park shall use discretion in using any sound producing devices which may include but is not limited to televisions, radios, stereos; musical instruments, generators or other noisy machinery so not to create a nuisance to others. Visitors should conduct themselves in a manner that is respectful of other people in the park and not do anything commonly considered to be offensive, distasteful or insulting to other visitors.

Sec. 11-65. – Vending. Vending of any kind is not allowed unless special permission is granted by the town council. Vending licenses will be subject to all laws and policies established by the Town of Carolina Beach.

Sec. 11-66. – Advertising and promotions. There shall be no advertising and/or promotions of any events, product or service at Freeman Park. This shall include distribution of literature such as advertising fliers, brochures and pamphlets.

Sec. 11-67. – Organized events not allowed.

There will be no organized corporate or business sponsored events, mass gatherings in which tickets are sold, private parties or any event that will restrict the public use and access to the beach. This section excludes family gatherings, groups of friends, school or church groups, and other similar gatherings. Special events can be approved by the town council at their discretion with these events primarily being for not-for-profit organizations. Special requirements may be imposed by the town council to insure that the liability of the town is covered and the safety of Freeman Park patrons is preserved.

Sec. 11-68. – Peddle, solicit or beg without a license.

It shall be unlawful for any person to solicit, beg or ask for money or other things of value, to exhibit oneself for the purpose of soliciting, begging or asking for money or other things of value, or to solicit or otherwise offer the sale of goods or services in Freeman Park with the exception of fundraising activities approved by the town manager.

Sec. 11-69. – Curfew for minors.

  1. The purpose of this section shall be to establish a curfew for minors visiting Freeman Park, thus assisting the parents and guardians of minors in the ever-increasing difficult task of child rearing and to promote the health, safety and welfare of both minors and adults by creating an environment offering protection and security for all concerned by:
    • Reduction of nocturnal juvenile crime;
    • Controlling juvenile delinquency;
    • Controlling drug activity;
    • Controlling malicious damage;
    • Reducing public disturbance.
  2. As used in this section, the following definitions shall apply:
    • Areas such as, but not limited to, all common areas open to all for common use; Freeman Park, alleys, streets, or public places, or places of business and amusement; public vehicular areas, highways, and parks; establishments open to the public for the conduct of business.
    • Guardian: One who legally has the care and management of the person of a child defined as a minor by this section.
    • Minor: A person who has not reached his/her sixteenth birthday and is not married or emancipated.
  3. A curfew applicable to minors is established and shall be enforced as follows:
    • Time limits. It is unlawful for any minor to be in or remain upon Freeman Park between midnight (12:01 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.) Monday through Sunday.
    • Exceptions. The restrictions provided by subsection (c)(1) above shall not apply to any minor who is accompanied by a guardian, parent or other person charged with the care and custody of such minor nor shall the restriction apply to any minor who is traveling between his home or place of employment, church, municipal building or school where a function is being held. Further exceptions pertain to;
      1. Political function, interstate travel or movement through the town or interstate movement beginning or ending in the town; and
      2. Emergency errand directed by minor’s parent, guardian, or other person charged with care or custody of such minor.
    • Responsibility of adults. It is unlawful for any parent, guardian or other person charged with the care and custody of any minor to allow or permit such minor to be in or upon, or remain in or upon, a public place within the town within the curfew hours set by subsection (c)(1) above except as otherwise provided in subsection (c)(2).
    • Responsibility of business establishments. It is unlawful for any person, firm or corporation operating a place of business or amusement to allow or permit any minor to be in or upon, or to remain in or upon, any place of business or amusement operated by them within the curfew hours set by subsection (c)(1) above.
    • Enforcement:
      1. When a minor is found to be in violation of this section the officer will check with the police department of the town to determine if the juvenile is a first offender. If the juvenile is a first offender, he/she will be taken to the residence of his/her parent or guardian if child resides in town limits. If not, the police will try to contact parent/guardian. A written warning will be given to that adult and an information report taken by the officer to include the name of the juvenile and adult and the time, date and location of the offense. This report will be turned in to the records center and entered into the police department computer system. A copy of the report will be forwarded to the juvenile officer of the police department.
      2. If, upon checking with the records center, the juvenile is found to be a repeat offender, he/she will be taken to the residence of his/her parent or guardian or the parents/guardian contacted and the adult will be subject to a criminal citation pursuant to subsection (c)(6) of this section. A report will be turned into the records center and entered into the police department computer system. A copy of the report will be forwarded to the juvenile officer of the police department.
      3. If the juvenile is under twelve (12) years of age, a report will be made and a copy forwarded to the New Hanover County Department of Social Services.
    • Aiding and abetting by adult, guardian or parent. It shall be a violation of this section for an adult, guardian or parent to allow, permit, encourage, aid or abet a minor in the violation of subsection (c)(1) of this section except as otherwise provided in subsection (c)(2).
    • Refusal of guardian or parent to take custody of a minor. If any guardian or parent refuses to take custody of his/her minor child found in violation of this section, the officers with custody of such minor shall contact the New Hanover County Department of Social Services and release the minor to that agency, pending further investigation by the police department and the Department of Social Services. The adult will be subject to a criminal citation pursuant to subsection (c)(6) of this section.
    • Emergency curfew. Under the authority of G.S. § 14-288.12, whenever the mayor of the town deems that an emergency exists and there is a clear and present danger to the preservation of the public peace, health, life or safety or to public or private property in the town necessitating expansion of the curfew provisions set forth in subsection (c)(1) above, the mayor may effect such expansion effective for the period of the emergency by proclamation. The proclamation shall contain a statement of the reasons for such necessity, the period of the expanded curfew and provide that no minor under the age of sixteen (16) shall be upon or about public places as defined by this section in the town between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. of the following morning unless accompanied by his/her parent, guardian or responsible adult. Such proclamation may further provide that no parent or guardian of any minor under the age of sixteen (16) shall allow the child to be upon or about, or remain upon or about, any public place as defined by this section in the town between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. of the following morning unless the child is under direction or protection of some adult person with authority and consent of such parent or guardian for his/her being there. Such proclamation shall become effective thirty (30) minutes after being publicly announced by the mayor for the period or until rescinded by the mayor or repealed by council in the manner in which ordinances are repealed. As soon as reasonably possible, the proclamation shall be published and reported in the local media and posted conspicuously about the town.

Sec. 11-70. – Dangerous weapons and fireworks.

  1. It shall be unlawful for any person to carry, use or possess firearms or other dangerous weapons of any nature within Freeman Park. This subsection shall not apply to law enforcement officers when engaged in the discharge of their duties.
  2. It shall be unlawful for any person to be in possession of or cause to ignite any pyrotechnic or fireworks that is prohibited under North Carolina State Law.

Sec. 11-71. – Noises prohibited, nuisances.

  1. General prohibitions. It shall be unlawful to create, cause or allow the continuance of any loud, disturbing, unusual, frightening or unnecessary noise, particularly during nighttime, which prevents or unreasonably interferes with neighboring residents’ reasonable use of their properties. Such noise may include, but is not limited to, the following:
    • Yelling, shouting, whistling or singing. Yelling, shouting, whistling or singing on the public streets or private property at nighttime.
    • Loading operations. Noise resulting from loading, unloading, opening or otherwise handling boxes, crates, containers, garbage cans, or other similar objects during nighttime.
    • Repair of motor vehicles. Noise resulting from the repair, rebuilding or testing of any motor vehicle during nighttime.
    • Radio, phonograph, television, or musical instrument. Noise resulting from the playing of any radio, phonograph, musical instrument, television, or any such device, particularly during nighttime.
    • Nuisance noise. Nuisance noise which does not exceed the noise threshold but creates an irritating impact sufficient to disturb an individual’s sleep pattern or the peace and quiet of the area.
  2. Specific prohibitions. The following acts are prohibited and shall be considered nuisance acts:
    • Horns and signaling devices. The intentional sounding of any horn or signaling device on any street or public place continuously or intermittently, except as a danger or emergency warning.
    • Motor vehicles. Operating or permitting the operation of any motor vehicle or motorcycle not equipped with a muffler or other device in good working order so as to effectively prevent loud or explosive noises there from.
    • Exterior loud speakers. Operating or permitting the operation of any mechanical device or loudspeaker, without a permit to do so, in a fixed or movable position exterior to any building, or mounted in/on any motor vehicle or watercraft in such a manner that the sound there from is in excess of the maximum decibel level as described in section 10-6.
    • Power equipment. Operating or permitting the operation of any power saw, sander, drill, grinder, leaf blower, lawn mower, or other garden equipment, or tools of a similar nature, outdoors during nighttime.
    • Explosives. The use or firing of explosives, firearms, fireworks or similar devices which create impulsive sound.
    • Security alarms. The sounding of a security alarm, for more than twenty (20) minutes after being notified by law enforcement personnel.
    • Animals and birds: Keeping of any animal or bird that frequently or for long periods of time makes noises that tend to annoy or disturb others.
    • Construction: Construction, construction preparation, building and operation of construction or building equipment.
    • Motor vehicles: Operation of any motor vehicle so as to cause the tires to squeal or screech unnecessarily.
    • Model cars: Operation of model cars, boats or airplanes, go carts, mini bikes or all-terrain vehicles or other unlicensed toy or recreational vehicles or devices powered by an internal combustion engine.

Sec. 11-72. – Public nudity.

  1. It shall be unlawful for any fully developed female to willfully expose her breasts in Freeman Park or on any public beach, any public street or in any public park. For the purpose of this section, the following definition shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning. For the purpose of this article, exposing of breasts shall mean the revealing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering on any portion thereof lower than the top of any part of the areola.
  2. It shall be unlawful for any person to appear on any public beach, any public street or in any public park in a state of dress or undress so as to expose to the view of others the human male or female pubic area, pubic hair, anus, vulva or buttocks with less than a fully opaque covering.

Sec. 11-73. – Penalties and remedies.

  1. Violations of the provisions of this article or failure to comply with any of its requirements shall be punishable by civil penalties and fined in accordance with the Freeman Park Schedule of Fines. The schedule of fines shall be periodically adjusted by the town council.
  2. Any act constituting a violation of the provisions of this article or a failure to comply with any of its requirements, shall also subject the offender to civil penalties detailed in the schedule of fines. If the offender fails to pay this penalty within ten (10) days after being cited for a violation, the penalty may be recovered by the town in a civil action in the nature of debt. Additionally, if the civil penalty is not paid within fifteen (15) days, a criminal summons will be issued.
  3. This article may also be enforced, by any appropriate equitable means, including the revocation of the offenders Freeman Park pass.

Pre-purchase Camping Spots at Freeman Park