Down At The Old Mill Beach

There are no stripes at the Old Mill parking lot — apparently for aesthetic reasons.

With each resident allowed 2 parking permits — and 2 more for guests — plus other Westport permit holders hoping to use the increasingly popular beach, the lot is often full.

That makes it all the more important for everyone to park carefully.

Not like last weekend:

(Photo/Fred Cantor)

18 responses to “Down At The Old Mill Beach

  1. I would squeeze my beat up pickup truck right in between.

  2. Four spots per house??? We should have sold them the parking lot, instead of giving them night-time exclusivity. It is ridiculous that regular town residents can no longer park in that lot during certain times.

    • Is a parking permit the same as a parking spot? If you want to use Old Mill, park at Compo and walk. It’s good exercise and a great view.

  3. Fred Cantor

    Lambie– are you suggesting that people who want to use Old Mill should carry their beach chairs and/or umbrellas and/or coolers from the Compo parking lot? That seems inconvenient at the very least.

    • If the parking lot is full and you want to use Old Mill, then walk. Inconvenient, yes, but there just aren’t enough spots for everyone and the residents should have first dibs to park in the Old Mill lot. I am operating under the assumption that many of those houses don’t have driveways or any other place to park.

      • Fred Cantor

        Well, I guess I don’t see the rationale for why their guests should be given permits to the potential detriment of town residents. In any event, the lot wouldn’t “fill up” so quickly if there were more efficient use of the available space, which could be easily accomplished by putting in designated parking spaces–the way it is in most parking lots. That seems like the simplest remedy to me.

  4. For what it’s worth, even in those parking lots with designated lines and spaces, all it takes is one “pig parker” to take up two (or three or four) spaces and the domino effect occurs. Who’s to say the cars on either side caused the inconsiderate lack of space?
    The car in the middle could have orginally parked within a reasonable distance from another vehicle, when the other vehicles left and
    others came in, they could have been the ones to leave the unecessary voids. Full discosure, that is NOT my car and I have been known to give too many people the benefit of the doubt. Naivete on my part is bliss!

    • natrob is right

      Natrob you are probably right. I think whoever owns that car in the middle must have moved it, because later in the day there was room. Sometimes I park badly because of other people and I always hope no one thinks it’s my fault.

  5. Wasn’t the parking plan permit another “gift” Alan Raymond negotiated with the Town? Ha.

    BTW, designated spots only work for the designated one. They actually reduce the overall usage.

    Back on da block, dis car gets “KEYED” instead of Kodaked. Neva happens twice. Tough love.

    • It would have been nice if the Town in their “negotiations” had gotten something in return. Imagine if the neighborhood had been forced to open up their private walkways to the public. Then we all could enjoy more views of the Mill Pond, the dam, and Sherwood Island. Instead we just gave away very valuable parking spots.

      • Virginia Gilbertie

        Hear! Hear!

        Did the residents pay for the permits, or were they a gift from us taxpayers? Why should they have first dibs if it’s a public lot? I pay to park at the beach, and if I didn’t have a driveway, I wouldn’t expect the town to give me parking spots for me and three other cars.

        I agree with 4anon. If they get spots, we get access.

  6. Eric Buchroeder

    Tow the F**kers!!!

  7. I agree with the parking for public access idea. Great thought and I wonder why our town leaders didn’t think of it. But I still think the homeowners need some kind of consideration if that is their only option for parking. How would you like to come home after a day’s work and find no place to park? Where do their service people park? The plumbers, electricians, cable guy? Can someone clarify what exactly these homeowners get? I don’t think it’s designated parking spaces but the right to park there. Most people have a minimum of two cars, so I can see where they need more than one permit. Four seems excessive.

    • The parking permits are subsidies funded by the taxpayers of Westport.

    • Old Mill Old Guard

      For some Old Mill residents – ie, the ones living across the bridge – that lot is the only place they have to park; cars can’t go across the bridge. If I recall correctly, some of the houses on the parking lot don’t have driveways either. And having a friend come over to my house (not *my* house, I can’t even afford to live in Westport) once in a while doesn’t seem unreasonable. Old Mill residents pay taxes, too, and some of them are summer residents.

      That being said, when I guarded there many, many years ago, there were always residents who bent over backwards to follow the parking and other rules and those whom I swear stayed up nights thinking of new ways to beat them. I chalk it up to variances in human nature. Another beach guard at the time suggested lines and was heatedly accused of making a reference to cocaine. True story, and sign of the times.

      • Westporter4ever

        I too was a Guard back in the mid 90’s and could not agree with you more!!!!

  8. Westporter4ever

    talk about a picture painting a thousand words….but lets not point the finger too quickly people! How do we know there wasn’t a smartcar or Mini parked in the empty spots or a motorcycle! And YES I have seen a smartcar, Mini and Motorcycle in this lot on many occasions!

  9. Old Mill Resident

    I have lived at Old Mill Beach since 1988. Here’s the full story (IMO):

    In the early nineties Parks and Rec did a study of the lot and how to maximize the spaces. There are 38 homes that comprise Old Mill and Compo Cove. If I remember correctly, in trying to get the most spaces, Parks & Rec. said it would be a total 92 cars could park there. Obviously, the lot would be maxed out very quickly. Old Mill is unique in that it is the only place some residents can park their cars (me, no driveway). A few homes have driveways (not Compo Mill Cove homes). There are two garages that hold a total of 13 cars that are deeded to specific properties (BTW, those garages flood, and the past few days have put salt water into the north garages).

    As one can see there will always be a shortage of spaces. It is also a public lot for Westport residents with a Westport Beach Sticker (good for use at Compo and Burying Hill, too). Anyone who lives there knows this. When the guard house is staffed, usually the parking is tolerable. Unfortunately we do not get the same staffing as Compo and Burying Hill so anyone can park during the unstaffed times. Yes, the police will ticket cars without the Beach Stickers or the Old Mill/Compo Cove Placards, but they cannot be there every hour as there are certainly more important items to address in town.

    As to the Old Mill/Compo Cove Placards, they were created to identify residents for the Parks and Rec staff and the police. Before the placards, one problem was other Westport residents “dumping” cars at Old Mill with a Beach Sticker for weeks (months) on end. It wasn’t fair to us nor anyone trying to find a space. With the placards, we are legal to park a car overnight/24 hours. If I have an out of town visitor, they get the “guest” placard to put in their car so they will not be ticketed. Any car without the placard parked between 10:00 PM and 5:00 AM is at risk to be ticketed and towed. This resolved cars being dumped in the lot.

    Up until about seven or so years ago, those placards were free. Then a former Parks and Rec Commissioner felt we should be charged for those placards even though because of our proximity to the water, our taxes are higher than comparable sized properties and homes in town. We pay $50 each for the first two placards that are assigned to a specific vehicles/license plates (and cannot be used on another vehicles). The two guest placards are $85 each, if a homeowner decides to get a placard(s). So that is an additional $270 for the opportunity to be able to park at our homes and have guests.

    We have seen many more people making Old Mill/Compo Cove year round residences. We all try to park so that we don’t have gaps like the one in the pictures. Some people are more adept at parking than others. 🙂

    Old Mill is a special place, and so we tolerate the parking situation (for the most part). Yes it is frustrating not finding a space in the summer months and having to drive around and wait for something to open up (as my ice cream melts!!!!!). But we do love the views of the pond and Long Island Sound!

    If you have questions, please ask away. I’ll try to answer them (correctly!). 🙂