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Higher Beach, Boating Fees Coming in Westport

WESTPORT, Conn. – Summer fun in Westport will cost more next year as proposed fee increases for daily parking at Compo Beach and town boating facilities were unanimously approved by the Board of Selectmen on Wednesday.

Among the increases, recommended by the Parks and Recreation Commission as a way to generate more revenue, daily parkers at Compo Beach will go from paying $20 to $30 on weekdays and $40 to $50 on weekends and holidays, Parks and Recreation Director Stuart McCarthy told the selectmen.

"I think we're clearly the premium public facility on this section of Long Island Sound," McCarthy said, noting attendance at Compo has escalated. "The fact that we offer a full-service restaurant, a playground, athletic fields and a picnic area all lead to [Compo] being a very desirable location, and I believe the market will support these fees."

From May 1 through Sept. 30, beachgoers looking to park at Compo must either have a valid Parks and Recreation parking emblem or pay the daily parking fee. The fee increases apply only to daily parkers, not residents who purchase the $35 emblem, McCarthy said.

These increases are the first since 2008 when daily parking went from $15 to $20 for weekdays and $30 to $40 for weekends/holidays, McCarthy said. Since then, he said daily parking sales have increased. In 2009-10, he said there was a 16 percent increase and last year, despite the weather, sales were up 10 percent from 2009.

In comparison to nearby beach towns, McCarthy said these new fees will be on the high end and will make Compo one of the most expensive — if not the most expensive— beaches in the state.

"I'm comfortable with these rates. We can adjust them if need be," First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said.

Also going up next summer is the cost of boat storage at town-owned facilities. Like the daily parking increases, boat storage fees were last increased in 2008, McCarthy said. These increases will help offset the operation costs of the marinas as well as raise revenue for planned capital projects, he told the board.

The new boating fees impact in-water and dry storage, as well as permits. The increases can be found here .

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