WEST – On hot midsummer days it can be difficult to find room to lay a towel on the city beach. City council members said they would soon look for ways to ensure that high-end real estate is only available to people who have applied for and received beach parking passes and will consider whether the use from the beach can and should be limited to residents.
The passes are sold annually to city taxpayers and full-time residents who can prove they live in the city by providing a copy of a full-year lease. The passes can also be used at Wuskeneau Beach, where non-taxpayers and non-residents are allowed to purchase them as state funds were used when the city purchased the property.
Some residents and council members say the town beach, known by many as the Old Town Beach, is only for taxpayers and residents, but parking passes are transferred to tenants and others, preventing residents from using the beach.
“The old town beach, they say, is overrun because the passes don’t stick to the taxpayers. They say the passes are pouring in to rentals and Airbnbs,” City Council Chairman Sharon Ahern said at the time. of a board meeting on Monday.
Others want the city’s beach to be reserved for full-time residents only, not residents and taxpayers who may reside elsewhere.
Councilors said there appeared to have been an increase in the number of non-residents on the city beach last summer. Councilor Suzanne Giorno says she believes some people make and distribute copies of the passes issued by the city. She recommended developing new passes with barcodes to help limit the use of passes to those who purchase them.
Councilor Philip Overton has requested that the issue of the beach pass be placed on the agenda of the future council. Ahern, who works out the agendas with the city manager, said she would put the issue on a future agenda once officials finish their research on the topic.
City attorney William Conley Jr. said he recently received a request from “a voter” asking for legal opinions on whether the city beach was public or private property. Conley said the matter and related issues raise a host of legal issues, including beach access issues. Before embarking on a search for answers to voters’ questions, Conley said he wanted to consult with the council first to ask if they should spend time on the issue.
Ahern suggested that the council treat the matter as a matter of policy rather than allowing Conley to spend time on the legal questions put to him.
Resident Diane Chiaradio Bowdy wrote to Ahern recently and asked council to limit the sale of Town Beach parking passes to residents rather than residents and taxpayers.
“Western residents and taxpayers can purchase a season pass to park on the beach lot at Westerly Town. belong only to residents, ”Chiaradio Bowdy said in an email to Ahern.
Many residents, said Chiaradio Bowdy, “believe the city should sell Town Beach passes and allow parking only to western residents, as confirmed by the address on their driver’s license, registration number. their vehicle and / or voter registration. Non-resident taxpayers should be allowed to purchase a season pass for admission to Wuskenau only. “
Chiaradio Bowdy, who is chair of the school committee, also asked council to put the beach issue on a future agenda.