This is the epicenter of the coastal access debate. Permission to enter the 147-acre Greenwich Point has been an issue brought to the courts several times these past two decades. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, here is a brief history.
In the 1990's, Stamford resident and law school student Brenden Leydon was denied entry to Greenwich Point while jogging. The town maintained a policy that restricted entry to residents only. He filed suit in 1995, and the case made it's way to the State Supreme Court in 2001. The court ruled that Greenwich could not deny Mr Leydon access to a public space. Problem solved? Not so fast.
Greenwich opened their beach and park to nonresidents, but made sure to put in place a series of obstacles for anyone who tried to visit. Fees for nonresidents were extremely high, plus a permit was required for entry. This nonresident permit could only be purchased at the town offices, which were miles away. Sure enough, the office was only open till 3:45 PM on weekdays, and closed on weekends. Take that,.. Supreme Court!
In 2005, 75 year old Paul Kempner rode his bike into Greenwich Point and was fined $92 for trespassing. He filed suit claiming that the fees charged for nonresidents were prohibitive. The town responded by lowering their fees, and allowing free entry for retirees. The permit requirement remains in effect.
Another case in 2005 involved three female residents of Greenwich who were excercising in the park.The black and Hispanic women (wives of former major league baseball players) were told that 3 people constituted a group, which requires a permit, and therefor they had to leave. Some incriminating emails from a town official later surfaced, confirming the women's suspicions.
Greenwich has tried to portray themselves as a victim in this saga, but they have brought most of this bad publicity upon themselves.
From November 1 through April 30, Greenwich Point (aka Tod's Point) is open to all with no fees or residency permit required. The photos above show the south portion of the park between the lake and Bluff Point. A walkway curves along the shoreline, and is dotted with several wooden bridges that cross the tidal outlets of some nearby salt ponds.
Connecticut Post: Public Access Not Always Easy
New York Times: One Man's Crusade
New York Times: In Greenwich, Group Hugs Are Few
CT Coastal Access Guide: Greenwich Point Park
Sphere: Don't Expect A Warm Welcome