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Maryland beach town considers toplessness issue

Posted at 2:31 PM, Jun 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-09 14:31:21-04

OCEAN CITY, MD (WBOC/CNN) - There's some ambiguity about toplessness on a Maryland beach.

The beach patrol of Ocean City, MD, has been told not to approach or engage with topless women on the beach, although they can write up complaints about the nudity.

The directive comes as Ocean City awaits guidance from the state on what to do about the issue.

The controversy began last year when a woman asked the city to allow her to be topless on the beach, arguing it was her legal right.

Beach-goers are divided over whether it should be allowed.

"I'm game if you are," Brian Meyers said.

The opinions are divided along the lines of personal freedom and making sure the beach is family-friendly.

"To me it's freedom," Carrie Mills said. "I mean, I wouldn't do it. If you feel comfortable with your body, and you want to do it, that's fine."

Jonathan Mejia shares that opinion.

"Topless bathing, wow, where can you get me started?" Mejia said. "I think it's a girl's personal decision whether she wants to come to the beach half naked or keep their top on."

But Donna and Mike Fegley say topless women roaming on the beaches is not something they want their four children to see.

"The beach is something we're trying to incorporate as a family," Mike Fegley said. "As a get-away, as a relaxation for the family. If I would ever see that, it would turn us away and we would just go elsewhere."

Ocean City understands those concerns and Police Chief Ross Buzzuro said it's being handled on a case-by-case basis.

"We are exploring all possibilities of how to handle any particular situation," Buzzuro said. "But, it's really based on the particular situation - how it's presented to us."

Meyers said the solution for people who don't like it is simple.

"If they don't want to be around it, take their kids somewhere else," Meyers said.

Ocean City will continue to await a response from the Maryland attorney general's office on what legal rights they may or may not have under Maryland law.

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