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Town to Charge Visitors for Beaches

February 15, 2002

GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) _ This wealthy New York suburb adopted an ordinance Thursday forcing out-of-towners who want to visit its beaches to buy more than $400 in permits.

The Greenwich Board of Selectmen voted 2-1 in favor of the seasonal passes, with no option for visitors to buy a day pass. Greenwich previously had a residents-only beach policy, which the state Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional in July.

Stamford attorney Brenden Leydon had brought the case to the court after being turned away while attempting to jog on a beach in 1995. Leydon said the seasonal pass was still elitist and promised to bring the issue back to court.

``You could go to Europe or the Bahamas for that kind of money,″ Leydon said. ``I think it clearly violates the letter and the spirit of the Supreme Court’s decision.″

Supporters say the plan represents costs paid by residents’ property taxes to maintain the pristine beaches. It requires a nonresident to buy a seasonal pass for $308, and another $100 to park their vehicle. Pass holders could bring guests for $6 each, but would limited to 30 guest passes.

``I think this proposal comes as closely as we can to treating everyone fairly and staying within the guidelines of the law,″ said Selectman Penny Monahan, a Democrat.

Selectman Peter Crumbine, the only Republican on the board, voted against the plan. He said he was concerned about future litigation and had proposed an alternative allowing out-of-towners to buy $10 day passes.

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