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Fairfield Reduces Free Parking at Beaches

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fewer trips to Fairfield’s public beaches will be free next summer. The Fairfield Parks and Recreation Commission approved changes to the town’s beach sticker policy at its latest meeting. Among the new measures are permit checks later into the evening and charging senior citizens for permits.

The commission formed a subcommittee this fall to look into changes in its beach parking policies. The group was focused on raising the age cutoff for free senior citizen parking. But on Nov. 19, it offered additional suggestions for raising the town’s revenue from beach parking.

One of the biggest changes is the decision to charge seniors and disabled Fairfielders for beach permits. Previously, all residents over the age of 62 and all Fairfielders with handicap parking tags received an “A” parking sticker for free. “A” stickers allow cars access to all beaches, the South Benson Marina and the town’s Solid Waste and Recycling Center.

The commission voted 5-1 to charge $10 per year, half the normal price, for Fairfielders over 62. Handicap sticker holders will now get no discount. All Fairfielders can still get a “P” sticker, which permits parking at just Penfield Beach , for free.

The new policy will also make parking permits necessary later in the day. The commission voted unanimously to extend hours for employees to collect daily parking fees at the beach an extra two hours, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Daily fees without a permit will still be $15 on weekdays and $25 on weekends. But out-of-towners and those with permits will have to wait until 8 p.m. to avoid the charges.

The new hours will extend even later on Family Movie Nights on Jennings Beach. The town will keep collecting fees until 9:30 p.m. for cars without stickers. But parking for Fairfield’s annual Fourth of July fireworks will still be free to all after 6 p.m.

All changes will go into effect in the summer of 2012.

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