Fairfield to enforce beach regulations

After a long and not so lustrous winter, Memorial Day weekend has arrived and summer is rapidly approaching. That’s certainly good news for frostbitten Fairfielders, but officials are letting residents know that safety is going to be the town’s top priority for the upcoming summer season.

In a press conference held Tuesday morning at police headquarters, First Selectman Michael Tetreau, Police Chief Gary MacNamara and Parks and Recreation Director Jerry Lombardo outlined some of the areas that will be stressed in the months ahead.

“These are not new policies we’re talking about,” said Tetreau. “To invoke a term often heard in college athletics, this is a change in focus, a change in points of emphasis.”

Tetreau noted that there will be two main areas where the town will be stepping up enforcement in 2014.


A scene of children at a beach in Fairfield.

“The first focus is to remind residents that there is no alcohol allowed on town beaches,” he said. “This really became a big focus for us last year and will continue to be a priority this year. The second focus will be on grilling. There are no grills allowed on our beaches and with larger crowds enjoying the beaches this is a key safety issue. This is all about getting the word out ahead of time.”

Lombardo noted that although grill ordinance has been on the books for some time, it has not been stringently enforced.

“As we kick off the summer season, we want to residents to know that grills are not allowed on any of our beaches or waterfronts,” he explained. “We noticed last year, particularly during the Fourth of July holiday, when the beaches are wall to wall with people, more people have been bringing their grills to the beach. This is a public safety issue. There are a lot of children running around and hot embers spilling from the grill. Also, we have noticed a lot more propane tanks being brought in and they are a hazard as well.”

Tickets given to violators

“As the weather changes, people’s behavior changes,” noted MacNamara. “We are here on the heels of Memorial Day weekend and we just want to remind people of the rules. And generally the residents are very receptive. That happened last year when we focused on alcohol on the beaches. We have great beaches in this town and we want to make sure that everyone can enjoy them safely.”

The police chief added that violators will be subject to being ticketed for violation of a town ordinance.

Lombardo disclosed that more public grills are being added to the beach and they will be moved farther away from the picnic areas. The grills are available on a first come, first serve basis, and it is hoped that residents will share the available grills.

Parking fees to rise

The town will also be increasing parking fees this summer, and out-of-town beach goers will be especially hard hit. Beach stickers for the season will remain the same price at $20 for residents and $135 for non-residents. However, non-resident parking fees on weekends and holidays will be increased from $25 to $50.

“This is about maximizing safety, but it is also about maximizing fun,” Tetreau said. “I would like to applaud our Parks and Recreation Department and Chief MacNamara and his team for this proactive approach.”

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