Mark and Jan Marcus lived in Westport for nearly 60 years. Both were involved in nearly every facet of the community: volunteer work, politics, religion.
For example, Mark served on the Board of Selectmen, was vice chair of the Planning & Zoning Commission, and a member of the Westport Charter Revision Committee and Board of Assessment Appeals.
As 3rd Selectman, he helped establish a policy with the Parks & Recreation Department that provided free swim lessons for every Westport child.
Jan was a justice of the peace. She sang in the Saugatuck Congregational Church choir, was a member of the Democratic Town Committee and Democratic Women of Westport, and volunteered in every town election from 1962 — when she and Mark married — through the mid-2000s.
After Mark — a 1958 Staples High School graduate — died in 2020 at 79, Jan had to sell her home. She moved closer to her daughter and son-in-law — both Staples grads — who live elsewhere in Fairfield County.
She asks: “Is it true that non-residents have to pay $700 for a beach parking sticker?”
No, that’s not true.
It’s actually $775.
The other day, Jan wrote to me:
“I am heartbroken. As a died-in-the-wool Westporter yourself, you know how being able to drive to Compo or Burying Hill to park and look at the Sound, or walk, or sit at a picnic table with a sandwich from Gold’s is embedded in the fabric of your being.
“To me, it does not seem right that someone who was so much a part of the town, and who like Mark, gave so much in public service to our community, is required to pay the same high price for access to the beaches that is paid by a non-resident with no connection to Westport, who just wants to get into the beaches.
“Is there something ‘06880’ could do to influence the Parks & Recreation Commission to establish a lower price for former residents? I, and I’m sure others like me, would be deeply appreciative.”
Unfortunately, “06880” has no magic wand. If I did, this would be a great reason to wave it.
Fortunately though, we do have our “Comments” section. How about it, readers: Does Jan’s idea have merit?
Is there — ethically and legally — a way to grandfather (and grandmother) in former residents?
And on a related note, what about charging them — or anyone — without a sticker a lower rate after, say, 5 p.m., for all the sunset lovers out there?
Click “Comments” below. Please use your real name. If it’s relevant, let us know how long you’ve been going to the beach.
And whether you still can.