Monday, June 19, 2006

Greenwich's Beach Access Policy Prompts Another Lawsuit

Greenwich is being sued again by a Stamford resident who wants easier access to Greenwich Point Park. The litigious out-of-towner this time is Paul Kempner, the bicyclist who last summer kept riding to the beach without paying. He says it’s OK to charge a parking fee but an entrance fee for pedestrian of cyclists is unacceptable. It was another Stamford resident who successfully sued Greenwich about six years ago to force them to change their residents-only policy at their beaches. From the Greenwich Time:

In the latest lawsuit over access, Stamford cyclist Paul Kempner accuses the town of discriminating against nonresidents by charging excessive fees to visit its beaches. Those fees, the lawsuit says, violate the spirit of the 2001 state Supreme Court ruling that declared the town's residents-only policy a violation of nonresidents' free speech rights and opened the beach.

Greenwich is one of only a few communities that charge nonresidents for both admission and parking at its beaches. Madison also charges a $10 daily admission fee.

"Greenwich has ignored these binding rulings of the Connecticut courts and, in willful and wanton contempt of those courts, continues to discriminate in respect of access to its public parks against citizens of Connecticut, who reside in municipalities other than Greenwich," the lawsuit says.

The paper quotes a handful of defiant local residents who want the town to vigorously defend the beach policy.

The story also notes that when the town’s parks board recommended earlier this year that the town lower the fee to $1 a day for pedestrians, four of the board’s nine members were given the boot. Good luck, Paul Kempner.


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