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Court Orders Town To Open Beaches

May 10, 2000

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ The exclusive town of Greenwich must allow out-of-towners to use its parks and beaches, the state’s second-highest court ruled Wednesday as it overturned a long-standing town policy.

Barring outsiders violates a public trust doctrine that says municipalities hold parks on behalf of all citizens, the state Appellate Court ruled.

Greenwich was sued by Brenden Leydon, a resident of the adjacent town of Stamford, in 1995 because a guard turned him away a park on Long Island Sound.

Greenwich, known for wealth and celebrities, bars nonresidents from its parks and beaches unless they are accompanied by a resident and pay a $6 guest fee.

After a 1998 trial, a judge rejected Leydon’s complaint, citing a 1919 special state law that gave the town the authority to maintain its parks and beaches for its inhabitants.

The Appellate Court ruled the town had exceeded the power granted by the Legislature.

First Selectman Lolly Prince had said earlier that the town would appeal an adverse ruling to the state Supreme Court.

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