Resident beach emblem sales up, down for nonresidents following price hikes
WESTPORT — An winter-long effort to get better control of summer crowds flocking to Compo Beach has kept the popular location in the headlines and seems to have led to a rush of residents getting their beach passes early.
As of March 28, the parks department sold 2,423 beach emblems to residents compared to 1,294 at this time last year.
“I have no idea why that is,” said Jennifer Fava, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, on why there has been a spike in early sales.
Though seasonal beach pass sales for residents, which went from $40 to $50 has spiked, sales to non-residents have fallen off, perhaps due to the price going from $490 to $775. The parks department has sold 236 emblems to out of town residents so far this year compared to 368 sold at the same point in the sale season last year, Fava said.
The 236 emblems sold to out of towners includes 130 to Westonites, who receive a special discount. Weston residents will pay $375 this year, up from $250 last season. At the same time last year Weston resident had only purchased 36 emblems.
Beach emblems, otherwise known as seasonal beach parking passes, Compo Beach went on sale for the summer 2018 season via the Westport Parks and Recreation Department on March 19.
After a wave of resident concerns about beach overcrowding, safety, and maintenance at Compo erupted in the wake of last year’s beach season, the Parks and Recreation Commission passed a series of changes to beach rules and regulations.
In addition to a price increase for non-residents, the Board of Selectmen voted to decrease the number of emblems that can be sold to nonresidents from 600 last summer to 350 this summer.
The parks department estimates raising beach emblems will bring in $200,000 in additional funding for town to cover beach improvement projects, such as a new bathroom and sidewalk and increased maintenance staff.
In comparison, Fairfield charges $175 for a season parking pass to Jennings and Penfield beaches for any vehicle that does not pay taxes in the town of Fairfield while Norwalk charges $225 for nonresident beach season parking passes.
Parking emblems are required at all town beaches from May 1 through Sept. 30. For more information visit www.westportct.gov.
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