Beach Stickers: Good For Businesses?

Like all Westporters, Bruno Donatti and his wife love Compo.

In fact, they love it so much, they run 2.2 miles from their place to the beach — with a stroller and baby on board.

It’s nice exercise, and keeps them in shape.

Of course, they’d be there more often if they had a beach sticker.

The reason they don’t is because they are Westporters during the day only. They own 2 fantastic businesses: Winfield Street Italian Deli, just over the Post Road bridge (formerly Art’s), and Winfield Street Coffee, across from the train station.

The Winfield Street Deli on Post Road West.

Bruno and his staff are fully invested in Westport. They donate to every good cause. They’re part of the community. Their customers love them.

So Bruno — who lives with his wife and baby in Stamford — has a good question.

“Should a business owner like me be allowed a beach sticker? I pay property taxes on all of my equipment to the town.”

He’s looking to buy a house in town. But moving here is not easy.

What do you think, “06880” readers? Should business owners be allowed to buy a beach sticker at the Westport rate? Or at a special discounted price? Click “Comments” below.

And when you’re done, head to either of Winfield’s locations. They’re worth a detour from anywhere — even the beach.

50 responses to “Beach Stickers: Good For Businesses?

  1. As another local business owner, I would say yes. I bring outside people to Westport who support local restaurants, gas stations, stores, etc., and I pay a lot of money for my office space. I help sustain Westport’s economy, as do all other business owners.

  2. Any business owner should definitely be eligible to get a Sticker at the Town Rate. They contribute just as much or more to the town as a resident, as does the Property Owners.
    Winfields is a great addition to the local Culinary ascend!

  3. David J. Loffredo

    I’m not sure what you mean by “local business owner”. Does that mean that employees at the J Crew wouldn’t be eligible.

    Maybe you do it based on paying local property taxes – not residential – but for automobiles, business equipment, etc. Perhaps if you pay over $X you qualify for a beach sticker?

    With a rule like that – based on revenue these folks actually generate for our tax coffers – we could probably eliminate most of the stickers we dole out to Weston residents so that the parking congestion wouldn’t increase.

  4. We should support all business owners and make sure they are very happy here. Westport is a amenity that should be used as another rationale to stay and relocate here.

  5. File this one under No Brainer. Of course we should.

  6. Mary Papageorge

    We owned a business for years in Westport even had a car registered there we own the building and pay a lot of taxes to the town probably more than most residential, but my husband passed away (still own property) and they couldn’t wait to give me the car back to the town I live in. I did get a sticker but was told next year I would have to pay out of town price. I think if you pay taxes in the town you should be able to use the beach. And yes we helped sustain Westport’s economy also….

  7. People who rent homes in Westport are eligible (or used to be). Business owners whould be eligible.

  8. No. The definition of “resident” is perfectly clear and generates no confusion or need for interpretation. (What about out-of-town landlords? What about out-of-town investors or part investors in businesses or real estate? They pay some part of Town taxes. What about The Gap etc as a benefit to their employees?) Business owners receive a great many town services and benefits for their taxes. They are always welcome to purchase non-resident passes for their leisure time when they are not running businesses. Resident means resident.

  9. It would seem these folks have a strong case. But what constitutes a business owner; an empty LLC registered in Westport, a few shares in Terex, employee options at The Gap??? Paying taxes to the Town seems a pretty simple metric that can’t be gamed.

  10. Everyone is allowed to use the town beaches. The right to park is the issue. We have a limited number of parking spaces. There are over a thousand commercial properties many with multiple tenancies in Westport. Add to that all the new housing units being built as a result of 8-30G. Nice thought when you talk to an effected individual, bad idea when you think and count.

  11. I believe non-resident Westport teachers can get beach stickers, even though they don’t pay any taxes.

  12. Carrying the concept further, should local business owners who pay taxes here be allowed to send their kids to Westport schools?

  13. For many years I had my company car registered to the business in Westport and got a beach sticker that way. Has that changed?

  14. Pay taxes = eligible for sticker.

  15. Once again Mike Calise is the voice of reason. Everyone is allowed to use the beach..A couple of weeks ago on a Sunday I sat for a few minutes at the “drop off area”. I counted the cars dropping folks off. Private cars, Ubers and taxis. I stopped at fifteen in about a twenty minute period. Most of these vehicles dropped two or more people. So there is a way.

  16. Laurie Brannigan

    Of course! They should definitely be allowed to purchase a beach sticker at either the Westport price or other reduced price!

  17. Yes, they pay real estate taxes – business or residential – in Westport, so they should definitely be allowed this privilege – at the same price the rest of us pay.

  18. Arline Gertzoff

    In the old days you could get a sticker if our owned a business and paid taxes.My late father owned a business and property in Westport and before we moved here we always went to Compo.Not sure when law was changed.

  19. When I worked in Greenwich in the 1980s, I was able to get a Greenwich beach sticker by providing proof of employment by a Greenwich company. Certainly, a business owner or commercial property owner (ie tax payer) in Westport should be entitled to a beach pass.

  20. geez if stuck up Greenwich does it i think we should too

  21. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    They should TP the Town Hall in protest.

  22. Charlie Haberstroh

    In our normal annual review of all things Compo this year, we will survey other Fairfield County Towns to see how our policies match up. I’ve heard a lot of complaints about overcrowding at the beach this summer, so caution those who advocate additional reduced level access to parking to be aware.

    For the record I also own a business located in in town and I have 2 out of town employees who, I as the owner, am happy to pay out of town permit costs if that is a benefit that is important to them. I hope most employers in town would take the same position.

    I know this is a controversial issue but I’m happy to raise it in public session in the larger context of all things Compo.

    I think it is important to take 30,000 foot view as Michael suggests.

    Charlie Haberstroh
    Chairman, Westport Parks and Recreation Commission

  23. I do not live there anymore, but it seems to me if somebody like the Donattis’ are paying such high taxes, and spending their hard earned money in the community, they should be able to get a beach sticker. It sounds like they contribute more to the community then a lot of the rich entitled folks who buy up beautiful old homes, tear them down and build some ugly modern McMansion. Sorry, but the stuck up folks who are saying they should not be allowed, are just what in my honest opinion, are what is wrong with Westport these days…I loved growing up in Westport back in the 60’s, 70’s, Westport was such a great place, so welcoming and full of fun little shops on Main St. So many interesting and nice folks, artists, writers, musicians…Now, it seems to be just full of rich entitles snobs…
    I watched as my other home on Cape Cod turned into a mini Westport and had been ruined also. The rich pushing out the artists and folks who gave the town character. The last time I visited in Westport, I didn’t even recognize it! Hardly any of the landmark stores, restaurants are left, so many lovely homes now gone….
    I just read a book by Jane Green ( The Sunshine Sisters) and loved that it took place in the Westport I know and love…she mentions so many places that were part of growing up there which are all now gone…Too bad.

  24. As the owner of Lucys clothing store for the past 12 years, I ran into the same issue ! I had been living in easton for 8 years before we moved to Westport. Commercial leases require tenants to pay all of the property taxes on the building / space – so we should be entitled to the same perks as westport residents. I did. Call the town and found out if the landlord would writes lettter stating they relinquish their right to the beach sticker, the tenant could get one. My Landlord at the time felt differently!

  25. Businesses pay Westport Real Esyate taxes just like a house. I am for them using this as s well earned and deserved perk!

  26. While we’re at it, my property taxes also fund the town’s municipal employee’s pension plan. Although I’m not a town employee, I pay property taxes, so I should be entitled to that benefit. Conversely, since I don’t have kids in the school district, I should be entitled to a rebate.

    Where do we draw the line? As a Westport resident I get screwed by having to pay a “Westport premium” whenever I hire a service provider to do work on my house. Also, just the other day there was a post on this blog about how the town’s Goodwill store charges more than other locations, simply because it’s in Westport. Many Westport businesses charge more because they’re in this town. Is that fair / equitable?

    Life isn’t fair, folks. I enjoy living in this wonderful town, even though I’m paying taxes through the roof for services I don’t take advantage of.

    • U.S. school taxes should be State, not municipal. Imagine the schools in Bridgeport resembling those in Westport… Spread the wealth throughout CT.

      • Let’s not go too crazy here. Westport “generosity” only extends so far… I doubt those who support letting non-resident property tax payers get beach passes would support letting them send their kids to our schools… That would be too logically consistent.

        • You do know there ARE Bridgeport residents attending school in all Westport publics? Please read up on the Open Choice program before you criticize without merit.

  27. If someone pays property tax to the town…they should be able to get beach stickers at a special price

  28. Deborah Briskin

    Yes they should be considered tax paying members of our community.

  29. Bill Boyd (Staples 1966)

    I grew up in Westport moving here in 1959. My family moved to Fairfield in 1982. Afterward it was impossible to use Compo. The guards wouldnt even allow overnight fiahing when NO ONE was present. I found the Over Protection of Compo a snobby overzealous practice…including empty rain soaked days when I “just wanted to drive once around ” when there were three cars in the entire area. I’ve come to strongly dislike the
    beach and the town…Westport has become a sick caricature of itself in many ways with the influx of New Yorkers (with thier New York “manners”), corporate retailers, heavy traffic and sense of personal entitlement. Courtesy has become extinct. I Iive in Trumbull and avoid the town as much as possible.

  30. Michael Don Sullivan

    Nice to see Mary Papageorge respond, and I agree with her.

  31. Bruno. Thanks for paying your taxes so the Westport police will protect you and your customers and Westport firmwnan will be there in case of any issue and Westport roads will be clean and cleared.

    And please pay our fee for a non resident. And let Westporters who have decided to pay Westport taxes, who have decided to live in Westport, enjoy the benefits for the taxes we pay.

    I am sure you agree.

  32. Absolutely
    And just maybe as a selling point we can get some of those empty stores filled🙃

  33. Let’s keep Westport “Westport”…. I cherish our little town and also my beach sticker. These conversations need to stop. So now do we ask Joey’s to open a Westport line so I don’t have to wait 30 minutes to get a lobster roll?;);)

  34. Before we start considering giving out more beach stickers to anyone, we have to realize that there is currently insufficient parking at the beach to accommodate all the non-resident permits and day passes issued NOW.
    The 600 non- resident passes now sold seasonally plus the high number of day passes sold, which numbered 300 and 240 on two recent Sunday’s, already causes big delays on the single access road leading to Westport’s small town beach.

    • David J. Loffredo

      So unfortunately on the previous thread, the facts were deleted since Charlie’s post with them is now gone…..

      However, it’s not the 600 non-resident passes – in fact if I remember correctly less than 500 were actually issued meaning there are still some available. It’s the WESTON PASSES – and if my memory serves it was somewhere around 1500 of those babies out there – and since there are roughly 3000 households in WESTON – HALF OF THEIR RESIDENTS have passes to the WESTPORT BEACH.

      I have no idea why they receive special treatment, I also wonder where the facts went since they were the only part of that thread two weeks ago worth retaining.

  35. Dave, I had all the numbers when I wrote my comment ( 526 out of 600 non-resident passes were sold, 1164 Weston residents bought beach stickers).
    Weston residents have been able to buy Westport beach stickers for over thirty five years and it never created a problem.
    My comment reflects my opinion that offering 600 non-resident passes is excessive for a town beach and allowing over 250 day passes (many paying by credit card) into an already crowded lot makes access into the beach slow for all of us.
    I have never had to wait on line for over fifteen minutes to get into Compo Beach on a Sunday until this year. Something has to change!!!

  36. Melinda Hemson Dubowsky

    My parents owned a business as well as the property where it stood on the Post Rd for many years. We were residents so it wasn’t a problem for us however, they were eligible for one beach sticker a year. I don’t know if it was because they were a business owner or property owner though but I thought I remember my mother saying all business owners in town were able to get a sticker. Was this ever a thing? Has it changed?

  37. Irene Mastriacovo

    100% agreed to have local business owners the option of purchasing a beach sticker. It’s a small but nice incentive to keep their businesses in Westport.

  38. YES!!!

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