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The original item was published from 2/13/2020 12:55:00 PM to 3/31/2020 5:05:01 PM.

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Posted on: February 6, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Proposal to Create New Parks Pass and Disposal Pass

Beach Parking

Norwalk Mayor Harry W. Rilling and his staff have proposed Ordinance changes to the Common Council that would create a separate seasonal Parks Pass and Disposal Pass for residents. This proposal would replace the current Norwalk Resident Pass system. These proposals aim to provide the best experience for Norwalk residents at Norwalk parks and beaches, address concerns that were raised last year with the new paid parking permit process, while also keeping with best-practice standards.

“The reorganization of City government allowed us to streamline processes and, at the same time, provided us a chance to evaluate systems that have not been updated for many years. That exercise highlighted decades-old inequities that we must address,” said Norwalk Mayor Harry W. Rilling. “I am grateful for the talented and innovative staff working for the City. This proposal creates a more equitable system for Norwalk residents, improves processes, and delivers the best experience possible for the public at our wonderful facilities.”

There has been confusion around the Norwalk Resident Pass system, which these changes directly address. A new tiered parking pass system is being proposed that streamlines the process, makes things easier for Norwalk residents, and clearly states eligibility and fees related to parking at Norwalk facilities, as well as using the Transfer Station and Yard Waste Site.

These recommended changes from the Mayor and his staff are based on detailed analysis and feedback from the public.

History of the Resident Pass:

The paper Norwalk Resident Pass, issued through the Recreation and Parks Department, historically granted access to Shady and Calf Pasture Beaches, the Transfer Station, and the Yard Waste Site. As currently written, the Ordinance provides a free Resident Pass to anyone who lives in Norwalk or owns property here. This often caused confusion when out-of-state vehicles would be parked in resident-only spots.

In 2019, the City successfully moved to a cashless system at the beach and implemented a license plate reader to verify license plates. The new system helped improve traffic flow, eliminated congestion at park entrances, and reduced the possibility of loss and theft of funds. It also provided more data, which allowed the City to operate more efficiently and plan better. This meant a paper pass was no longer needed for beach access, but one was still required for the other sites. A single Resident Pass Ordinance linked all of these sites together, despite having very different uses. The new proposal creates separate passes for Norwalk Beaches, Parks, & Marinas (Parks Pass) and the Transfer Station and Yard Waste Site (Disposal Pass).

Proposed Beach & Park Pass:

The proposed Ordinance changes would create a new Parks Pass, and also establish tiered parking fees for Calf Pasture Beach. Tiered fees are used in many other communities and provides the best deal for Norwalk taxpayers.

Residents or Norwalk property owners with a vehicle registered in Norwalk and who are up-to-date on their motor vehicle taxes would receive a free parking pass. This is not a physical pass, as all of the information is stored electronically.

Norwalk residents or property owners who do not have vehicles registered in the City and do not pay motor vehicle taxes in Norwalk would be able to buy a seasonal pass for $250.

The fee for a landlocked town parking pass, only available to residents in New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, and Wilton, would change from $225 to $325. The weekday non-resident daily parking rate would increase from $35 to $40, and the weekend/holiday non-resident daily rate would increase from $40 to $65.

License plate readers would still be used, and in addition to payment by a mobile app, pay stations will be installed at Calf Pasture Beach and Cranbury Park to provide additional payment options. To be clear, only non-residents or residents/property owners who do not have their cars registered in Norwalk and choose not to buy a seasonal pass will need to pay a daily parking fee.

Proposed Transfer Station and Yard Waste Site Disposal Pass:

The proposed Ordinance would create a Disposal Pass. This would be available to residents on a tiered system like for the beaches and parks. License plate readers will not be used at these sites, and a paper pass will still be required this coming season.

Residents and property owners with vehicles registered in Norwalk, and up-to-date with their motor vehicle taxes, would be eligible for a free disposal pass. Residents or those who own real property, but do not have vehicles registered in Norwalk, would be eligible to buy a yearly pass for $100.

The guidelines and weight limits for non-commercial pickup trucks, vans, vehicles with trailers, and commercial vehicles will not be changing. Anyone without a proper disposal pass will be subject to the disposal fees at the Transfer Station or Yard Waste Site, which is currently $20 minimum, regardless of weight. Garbage is calculated at $85/ton, and yard waste is calculated at $55/ton.

These proposals and fee changes will require Council approval. Various Council Committees will be reviewing these changes in the coming weeks, and meetings are open to the public.  

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