Non-resident day passes to Island Beach were increased by $7 per person Thursday by the Greenwich Board of Selectmen. The move follows a summer of controversy that pitted residents against out-of-towners over access to the popular destination.
Though the meeting was not presented as a public hearing, Representative Town Meeting member Josie Parnell (District-4) came before the board and questioned a $2 increase for town residents.
Everyone is now able to use [the parks], but I dont think the brunt of carrying the cost should now be placed on the citizens of Greenwich, said Parnell.
Parnells words echoed a statement made by Selectman David Theis at the selectmens last meeting on Dec. 3 -- I want to make sure that our residents dont feel like theyre getting short-changed, he said.
The selectmen increased resident fees for adult beach cards from $28 to $30 and hiked day pass fees for out-of-towners from $8 to $15. Of that, $5 is for daily admission and $10 for the round-trip ferry ride to Island Beach.
Beach access for nonresidents has been controversial since a 2001 lawsuit forced Greenwich to allow beach access to non-residents. The tow also expanded ferry access for non-residents. Last summer, residents complaints of rowdiness by out-of-towners brought 20 percent cuts to Island Beach capacity as well as the addition of two island patrollers. Town representatives have said they will continue to use patrollers on the island and plan to introduce them at the Greenwich Point and Byram parks.
According to town documents, Greenwich spent $526,841 last summer to maintain the ferries, which were used by 48,477 passengers.
Be part of the conversation: Do you think fare hikes for day passes were a reasonable move for the town to make?
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