NC beach town amends public nudity ordinance, butts now allowed

North Carolina

CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. (WECT) – Carolina Beach leaders amended the town’s public nudity ordinance Tuesday night after a resident recently felt uncomfortable while at the beach.

The changes, however, were minimal.

“Only change is to strike ‘buttocks’ from the ordinance, which means buttocks is no longer indecent,” said Carolina Beach Mayor, Joe Benson. “Point worth making — we’re aligned with state statute.”

The public nudity ordinance was brought into question when a resident contacted the council and town staff expressing concerns over beach attire.

“Our council and staff received an email, that a citizen felt like the female lifeguard bathing suits were too skimpy and revealing,” said Carolina Beach Councilwoman LeAnn Pierce. “The town attorney realized that we may need to revisit the ordinance.”

Carolina Beach’s public nudity ordinance states that “it is unlawful for any person to appear on any public beach, any public street or 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.”

“Our ordinance mentions buttocks, and that probably is what will be removed from that,” Pierce said before Tuesday night’s meeting.

Town of Carolina Beach public nudity hearing

Current North Carolina law verifies that “it is legal to expose the buttocks on the beach, so long as it does not result in exposure of genitals or the anus.”

Ahead of the change, the town released “local buttocks comparisons” in nearby communities.

North Carolina beaches that have unregulated public nudity ordinances include Nags Head, Topsail, Wrightsville Beach, Surf City, Emerald Isle, Kill Devil Hills, Pine Knoll Shores, Wilmington, Bald Head Island and North Topsail Beach.

Sunset Beach, Oak Island, Ocean Isle and Holden Beach all state in their ordinances that the buttocks is “less than fully opaque.” Kure Beach prohibits thongs.

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