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Summer renters can hit the beach — but not the pool

August 11, 2018

GREENWICH — Even summer-only residents of Greenwich can enjoy its beautiful beaches, a privilege that one local Realtor says should be publicized to make the town a destination for more visitors.

Greenwich Realtor Lisa Weicker said the strategy could attract additional summer renters — and could pay off down the line, too, if they look at Greenwich as a place to settle down permanently.

“Greenwich is a wonderful place with amazing amenities, but you have to entice people to come here,” Weicker said. “They can choose to rent in other towns. Renters often become buyers, and that supports our economy.”

For those who head to Greenwich for the perfect summer getaway, the rent they pay allows access to some of the town’s top amenities — if they obtain the proper passes.

The issue came up at a meeting last month of the Board of Selectmen when questions were raised about access to the town’s beaches for temporary renters. Town Director of Parks and Recreation Joseph Siciliano said that is allowed — as long as certain requirements are met.

Summer renters can have access to the beaches from May 1 through Labor Day after filling out the proper paperwork from the Department of Parks and Recreation. Authorization for temporary beach access must include a copy of the formal signed lease in town — which states the stay is for a minimum of 30 days; a copy of a valid driver’s license; a copy of vehicle registration; and identification for all other people staying at the property for the summer.

“It’s very simple and this has been part of our policy since it was first created,” Siciliano said. “This is nothing new.”

The cost is $300 per person for anyone over the age of 16, $175 for anyone between 5 and 15, and free to children 4 and under, who do not require a beach pass. To park at the beach, a car pass costs $150 per vehicle. Temporary renters can also make use of guest passes, which cost $7 and can be purchased at the town’s civic centers, Sicliano said.

A pass costs much more for a temporary resident. Full-time residents of Greenwich pay $35 for a seasonal beach and park pass. Seniors get a pass for free, children pay $7.

Another caveat: The owner of the rented property may not have active park passes during the time frame of the lease. With a summer rental, the property owners would be living out of town, so their cards would be deactivated, Siciliano said.

But summer-only renters do not have access to the new municipal pool, which opened in late June in Byram Park. Nonresidents are not permitted to use the popular pool under current policy, and residents are limited in the number of guests they can bring.

That policy was created because the town expected a rush of residents to use the pool when it first opened, Siciliano said. The initial surge has slowed, he said, but the pool was still averaging 600 visitors a day.

“At the end of the season we will look at the user data and see what decisions we want to make about whether there will be any changes for next season,” he said. “I know we did the right thing for the first year of the pool, and we will evaluate how we proceed from here.”

Beach policy and fees are evaluated each year, and the Department of Parks and Recreation makes recommendations to the Board of Selectmen for approval.

Given the high rents in Greenwich, even if it is just for the summer, Weicker said it makes sense to be as accommodating with the admission policy as possible.

“If someone from out of town rents a property here they should be allowed to access our beaches and our parks and our pool,” the Greenwich Realtor said.

Weicker said she has clients who lease property in Greenwich for the summer and are excited to go to the beach but are disappointed not to have use of the pool. She said they have gotten the “run around” from town government and are frustrated by the process, especially since it prevents them from using the pool.

Making the town’s amenities more open to temporary renters would promote Greenwich, and make the town more attractive as a permanent home, she said.

“We work hard to promote fine living here, and it’s expensive to live in Greenwich,” Weicker said. “Renters are a part of that, and they give back to our economy while they’re here. They’re shopping in our stores and eating in our restaurants while they are living here. We have to treat them fairly. It’s not fair to them if they and their families want to go to the beach and face an exorbitant fee or can’t even access the pool at all.”

Siciliano defended the policy, saying it’s not unfair.

“They can get temporary passes for the season or they can get guest passes for the day,” he said. “They have options depending on how much they use the facilities.”

kborsuk@greenwichtime.com

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