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As Beach Season Nears, Fairfield Steps Up Safety, Fees

Fairfield beaches, like Penfield have grown more popular over the years and local officials and law enforcement are concerned with public safety and the use of alcohol and private open flame grills. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
Fairfield First Selectman Michael Tetreau and Police Chief Gary MacNamara say they are concerned with public safety and the use of alcohol and private open flame grills as the town's beaches grow more popular. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Fairfield Police Department and Parks and Recreation Department are gearing up for the summer season and warning residents early that alcohol and open fire grills are not allowed on public beaches.

With Memorial Day weekend as the traditional kick off to the summer season, town officials remind residents that there will be consequences to violating town ordinances, to the tune of a $100 fine.

“This is about problem avoidance,” said First Selectman Michael Tetreau. The beach area in Fairfield has gotten more and more popular, he said, creating more safety hazards with drinking and open fire grills.

The town ordinance about the open fire grills has always been on the books, said Parks and Recreation Director Gerry Lombardo. But this year, because of the increasing number of people using the beaches, the town plans on fully enforcing the ban, he said.

There has also been an increase in the amount of drinking at the beach areas over the last several years, Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara said.

“Every year as the weather changes, behavior changes,” MacNamara said. The late, cool spring this year has given people less time to become acclimated to the rules, he said.

The city has added more public grills this season, Lombardo said, in hopes that people will use those instead of bringing their own to the beaches.

“What we really want to do is emphasize a safe summer season,” MacNamara said.

In addition to the stricter adherence to the alcohol and grill bans, there will also be an increase in the beach parking fees, Lomardo said.

The Parks and Recreation Department is increasing the daily weekday parking from $15 to $20, and for holidays parking fees will be increased from $25 to $50 at both Jennings and Penfield beaches.

“We would like everyone to come pick up a beach sticker” at the Parks and Recreation department on Mill Plain Road, Lombardo said. The price of the seasonal sticker hasn’t increased, he said. The cost for the yearly sticker is $20 for residents and $130 for nonresidents.

“This is all about maximizing the safety and maximizing the fun,” Tetreau said.

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