New rules, greater enforcement OK'd for beaches

WESTPORT — First Selectman Jim Marpe said he doesn’t want Compo Beach to become the “no fun beach,” but nonetheless he and selectmen Jennifer Tooker and Melissa Kane approved a series of new rules and plans for greater enforcement for the town’s beaches at the Board of Selectmen meeting Wednesday.

The changes come after residents complained via social media and through a newly formed advocacy group, Friends of Compo Beach, that the town’s crown jewel had become too crowded and chaotic last summer.

Parks and Recreation Department Director Jennifer Fava said the new rules and plans for greater enforcement of existing beach rules hopefully will alleviate residents’ concerns about summer conditions at Compo.

In the summer, the Parks and Recreation Department, in conjunction with the police, will enact and/or more heavily enforce rules prohibiting alcohol consumption, athletics on the beach, impromptu beach bonfires and campfires, bike riding on the boardwalk areas, daily parking in emblem zones, and noise (music, instruments, general noise from debauchery) beyond a distance of 20 feet from the source of the sound.

In addition, the selectmen voted to limit parking emblems to nonresidents at 350, down from a maximum of 600 emblems limited to nonresidents in past years.

“The good news is it’s a great beach,” Marpe said. “The bad news is, thanks to social media and other things, people know it’s a great beach and chose to come here.

More Information

Keeping it cool

at the beach

Rules introduced/plans for better enforcement:

No person shall engage in any athletics, games or contest except swimming at any public beach, except in areas designated for that purpose by the Westport Parks and Recreation Department.

Daily pass parking at Compo Beach is permitted only in designated area. Violators will be subject to a parking ticket per day.

Sound produced or amplified from any instrument or sound-making device may not be plainly audible beyond a distance of 20 feet from the source of the sound unless otherwise permitted.

“We can speculate on the reasons, but the reality is there’s a lot of people who are not residents who are taking advantage of the great beach and, frankly, the great prices,” Marpe said.

The Board of Selectmen will likely vote early next month on the Parks and Recreation Commission’s recommendations to increase prices for resident beach parking emblems from $40 to $60 and nonresident beach parking emblems from $490 to $750. They will also decide whether to follow the commission’s recommendations to increase daily parking fees for nonemblem-holding residents from $35 to $50 and nonresidents from $50 to $65.

Fava said the new rules and plans for greater enforcement will be evaluated at the end of the next summer beach season to account for any unintended consequences.

svaughan@hearst; @SophieCVaughan1