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Beach Parking Fees Will Increase for Non-Residents

The town will postpone the increase until 2012 for non-resident guests of Short Beach picnic pavilion renters.

Parking fees for non-residents are going up to $15 every day for Short Beach and Long Beach, which town officials say is what other Connecticut shoreline towns charge.

The exception is for non-resident guests invited to parties at picnic pavilions at Short Beach, who will be charged the old rate for the rest of 2011.

The old parking fees are $5 for weekdays and $10 for weekends and holidays at Short Beach and $10 every day at Long Beach. Town residents with beach stickers park for free, and residents without beach stickers would still be charged the old rates. Non-residents can buy a beach sticker for the whole season for $100.

Mayor John Harkins has not announced when the new rates will go into effect, but it could be as early as this week. The town website still displays the old rates.

The Town Council enacted the increase earlier this week, based on a recommendation by the Short Beach Commission.

Council member Stephanie Philips, D-2, asked for the exception because people have already rented the Short Beach picnic pavilions with the understanding that their non-resident guests would be charged the current parking fee.

Forty-eight rentals have been paid for at Short Beach through October, said Philips. It would not be fair to charge them more, she said.

Non-resident picnic guests would be charged the lower fee by informing the parking lot attendants when they arrived.

The fee would be deducted from the pavilion rental damage deposit bond prepaid by the pavilion renter. Those deposits range from $60 to $510, depending on whether the renter is a resident, a non-resident or a business and how many guests he/she expects.

The increase was proposed to match the parking fees charged by neighboring communities and to collect extra revenue for the town, which is facing a budget deficit this year.

Some of the Town Council members questioned whether parking attendants, who are summer employees paid the minimum wage, should have the responsibility to navigate the additional complications caused by the fee exception.

The Council members anticipated some beachgoers who aren’t coming to a pavilion picnic might question why they were charged a higher fee than those eligible for the exception.

Philips suggested tabling the increase for a month until all the details are worked out. "It was hastily done and I thought it was going to be sloppy," she said.

But Harkins urged approval. "We don’t want to lose a month of potential extra income," Harkins said. He told the Council he would make sure the details were worked out administratively.

Monica June 16, 2011 at 10:25 PM
I think the new fee for the beach is outrageous. We are very fortunate to have a beach in our town but unfortunately our beach is not well maintained. I have been to the beach with my daughter about 5 times in the past few weeks and I am disappointed every time we go there. The sand is not well groomed at all. There is a hard, straw like substance that goes across most of the beach. You have to walk over it to get to the water and it hurts to walk on it with sandals and bare feet. The playground is also a disaster. It was great when it was first installed but whenever something gets damaged it does not get replaced. I am surprised a child hasn't been injured yet and the town hasn't been sued. The beach looks like a dump most days with garbage thrown everywhere. I know that is not the towns fault but maybe they can have more trash bins to help with the problem. I will be spending my beach days in Milford. They take pride in their beaches and take excellent care of them. I would be embarrassed to bring a friend to our beach and more so when they have to pay $15.00 to get in. If you want to increase the fee then step up and make our beach beautiful.
Mary Ann Jackson June 17, 2011 at 12:45 AM
Maybe with the increase in fee it will stop the out of towner to stop dumping on our beach. The other problem I see at the beach is there are people bringing there dogs there and they got to the bathroom in the sand and I don't know about anyone else but I don't want my son to be playing in sand that a dog used . That is uncalled for and people that don' t use the garbage can they just think they can throw there trash anywhere they feel like. And I agree about the playground it should be upgarded so our kids don't get hurt. Also parents shouldn't leave there kids at the playground and go walking on the beach.
Amy Mortensen June 17, 2011 at 05:21 PM
I agree with the statements above. I am horrified by the photos that Monica posted. Monica - you deserve a lot of credit for going out to document the poor condition of the playground. One thing I never liked about Short Beach was the quality of the sand - broken shells, hard straw that hurt to walk on. I would always end up stubbing my toe. I haven't been back to Short Beach in many years. Maybe I am being picky wanting a shell free/straw free pristine sandy beach... but those pictures of the playground are abominable - someone can get hurt/cut on those broken rusty chains. If the playground isn't going to be maintained then the town should remove it. Safety first. I was visiting Walnut Beach in Milford the other day and was so impressed by the quality of the beach - the sand is soft and appears to be combed regularly. I would like to see Stratford beaches held to the same standard as Milford.
Noreen Calgreen June 18, 2011 at 10:44 PM
I have no problem with higher fees for non residents. What I would like to see is those extra fees go towards fixing and maintaining the beach complex. The pictures posted shows there is definitely a need for more work to be done there..
Bob E. Peel June 20, 2011 at 04:11 PM
The beaches in Stratford are in an estuary which is the breeding grounds for shellfish. There really is no way of getting soft Bermuda sand in Stratford. If you import sand as they do in West Haven it would only last a short time before shells would reappear in the sand. Mother nature is working against us. Bob E. Peel
Fred 128 June 24, 2011 at 06:18 PM
Are any other woodmont-milford beachsraising fees?

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