- Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2016

GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) - Fifteen years after a court ruling forced it to open its beaches to the public, the tony town of Greenwich, Connecticut, is considering whether access to a new pool should be limited to residents only.

The New York City suburb’s residents-only beach policy was struck down by the Connecticut Supreme Court in 2001, but some town leaders say a planned pool can safely be restricted because it is being built with tax dollars and is not a natural resource.

Town attorney Wayne Fox said it would be legally defensible if Greenwich decided to impose a residents-only policy, the Greenwich Time (bit.ly/1KqPyfJ) reported.

“We have taken a look at it,” Fox told the newspaper. “These are policy decisions that need to be made by the Board of Selectmen about what kind of access they want to permit to the pool. But I am of the opinion that if the town wants to do it, they have the right.”

The town’s old pool, at Byram Park, had been open to residents or anyone with a guest pass before it was closed last year because of contamination in nearby soil.

Greenwich, one of the region’s most affluent towns, was ordered by the 2001 ruling to allow public access to beaches and parks, including Byram Beach and the nearby park. But some officials say there’s no reason the policy for the pool can’t be different.

Republican First Selectman Peter Tesei said Greenwich residents should be given priority as the pool is being created with tax dollars.

Selectman Drew Marzullo, a Democrat, said the town will need to consider factors including the potential for a legal fight similar to what the town went through leading up to the 2001 ruling.

“While this may be legally defensible, do we as a town want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in court litigating such?” Marzullo said.

Design plans for the new pool are still to be completed.

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Information from: Greenwich Time, https://www.greenwichtime.com

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