Beaches in San Clemente will be closing up two hours early from now on amid growing public safety concerns.
The change was approved Tuesday and went into effect Wednesday night. However, it won’t be enforced until signs are officially posted at the beach.
A unanimous city council vote approved the rule following a May 26 assault involving three Marines being beaten by a crowd of teenagers at the San Clemente Pier.
The move addresses ongoing concerns over increasing public safety issues at the beach and nearby downtown areas. Officials also approved the hiring of more private security to patrol the beaches.
The early closure would fall in line with most Orange County beaches which generally close at 10 p.m. as well.
“I don’t think anything good happens on those beaches after 10 p.m.,” said Councilmember Victor Cabral. “I think it’s an appropriate time to close them.”
“It’s long overdue,” said Councilmember Mark Enmeier.
The measure was placed on the city council’s agenda as an urgency ordinance, allowing the item to be fast-tracked.
Some locals, however, are unhappy with the shortened hours.
“I just think that’s really early,” said a local teen. “A lot of us teenagers get home late and we like to hang out at the beach since it’s so close.”
Other residents lauded the move and are hopeful the early closure will successfully discourage unwanted activity.
“Three stories up, I see everything,” said a resident Monet Koorndyk. “What happens after 10 ‘o clock is unbelievable. Drugs, drug dealing. I’m the one who got broken into and my wife and I almost died. So getting people off the beaches at 10 ‘o clock will be great.”
The increased private security was hired on a temporary basis for now as officials continue monitoring beach activity.
The early closure does not affect San Clemente Pier as some businesses are open past that hour, officials said.