Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Greenwich's First Selectman Proposes to Loosen Rules for Public Access to the Town's Beaches

In Greenwich, where they don’t like out-of-towners going to their beaches (and where they frequently get sued because of trying to keep them out), the First Selectman has thrown a bone to the court in an attempt to get it to stop ruling in favor of the plaintiffs.

First Selectman Jim Lash is proposing to eliminate the entrance fee to town beaches, including Greenwich Point, to non-Greenwich residents who are 65 and over. That’s not a bad concession although, considering that the town is being sued by a 77-year-old Stamford resident named Paul Kempner who wants to ride his bike to the beach for free, the transparency of the proposal is good for a laugh. But whatever. Free is free, and if I'm alive in 12 years I'll probably take advantage of it.

Less impressive is Lash’s proposal to lower the daily fee for younger out-of-towners to $6 a day per person, from $10. A $20 per car parking fee would still be in effect. In other words, if two parents with two kids went to Greenwich Point last summer, it would have cost $60. If Lash’s proposal makes it through, the cost this year would be $44. That still seems like a lot to me, particularly compared to an equally nice beach like Compo, in Westport, where the fee for out-of-towners on a weekday is $15 per car. And you can pay it at the entrance to the beach; in Greenwich you have to go to Town Hall or the Civic Center to buy you pass first, which is a pain.

Here are some details, from the Greenwich Time.



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