The Town of Babylon is proposing to increase fines by $400 for counterfeit beach passes after officials this summer noticed an uptick in the fake stickers.
While some of the town’s beaches and marinas allow nonresidents to attend by paying a daily fee ranging from $20 to $50, others allow only residents with passes. The passes, which cost $45 this summer, are color-coded, laminated decals that must be affixed to a town resident’s vehicle window. Babylon Town Parks Commissioner Celeste Kusmierski said the town’s beach and marina workers would notice a handful of fake passes every couple of years.
“It’s a small but a persistent problem,” she said.
This year, however, the number jumped to nine for the season. And that’s just those that were caught: a woman in West Islip reported finding “a bunch” of discarded fake Babylon passes on the side of the road, Kusmierski said.
The number of counterfeits is minuscule compared to the amount of overall passes issued: more than 18,000 passes were purchased this year, town spokesman Daniel Schaefer said.
Still, Kusmierski said, thanks to improvements in technology, counterfeiters are getting more sophisticated and it’s becoming a challenge to keep up. She said the town is considering adding a hologram or other unique component to the passes for next year.
“We’re going to make it a lot harder for them to pull this off,” she said.
Under the town’s current policy, someone caught not having a pass or using a fake pass would be issued a $100 parking ticket, which they could fight through a court hearing.
The proposal would add a chapter on counterfeit beach passes to the town code’s Uniform Code of Traffic Ordinances. The change targets those who “make, issue or use any imitation or counterfeit of an official” town beach pass or resident parking permit or to display, cause or permit to be displayed “in a town parking field a fictitious permit or permit issued for another vehicle.” The current registrant of the vehicle will be the person held responsible for the infraction, the code states. Those accused will be issued a fine of $500, which they can contest in Town Court.
Most of the town’s beaches and marinas check passes until Labor Day, but should the new fine be approved, workers at Cedar Marina, who check passes until Columbus Day, would begin enforcement.
The town will hold a public hearing on the proposal on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, 200 E. Sunrise Hwy., Lindenhurst.