OLD LYME, Conn. (WTNH) — Visiting a popular local beach just got a bit pricier. The town of Old Lyme increased parking rates in Sound View and some business owners are not happy about it.
The town is increasing fees so the burden of beach maintenance doesn’t fall just on Old Lyme residents.
The Sound View Operations Advisory Committee, which started just this year, came up with daily rates to keep up with beach maintenance and other town beaches. The Board of Selectmen approved the rates in the beginning of May.
“To operate Sound View, you have police, you have sanitation, you have the parking facility,” said Timothy Griswold, Old Lyme First Selectman. “It’s not an easy situation because there’s not a lot of parking. We don’t necessarily want tons of parking because that means the beach becomes overcrowded.“
Currently, the town charges $10 for two hours on weekends and holidays, $6 on weekdays for the town parking lot and street parking. That adds up to $55 dollars for a full day on weekends, and $33 for a full day on weekdays.
Starting Friday, the town parking lot will have a new daily set raise of $75 on weekends and holidays and $45 for half the day. On weekdays, it’s $45 for the full day and $30 for half. These prices don’t include taxes. The lot is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is free after 7 p.m.
Metered street parking will cost $12 on weekends and $10 weekdays, starting Friday.
Frank Maratta owns a restaurant on the beach called The Pavillion. He says these high prices are going to drive families away.
“If you travel from an hour, an hour and a half away, you’re not gonna turn around, you’re probably going to pay the $75, $80 with tax. But you’re not gonna come back,” he said.
During a Board of Selectmen’s special meeting Wednesday, things got heated when discussing parking costs.
Selectwoman Martha Shoemaker is worried the price of parking might be too high.
“Basically with the last few weeks of gas prices rising and inflation, and starting to see the impact on families that I started to have concerns that these rates may be inflated.”
The Board of Selectmen will review how things go this weekend at a meeting next week.