Tag Archives: Compo Beach pickleball courts

Beach Bathroom Foes Gather Signatures

Parents with young kids want it. People with disabilities do too.

A few hundred Westporters don’t.

Earlier this month, the RTM approved $840,000 to construct a bathroom at Compo Beach’s South Beach. The vote was 26-8.

But the site — near the current pickleball courts — did not sit well with a number of avid players. They believe the facility — which would replace the port-a-potties there now — will ruin the view of the beach. It could also impede construction of more courts in the future.

Compo Beach pickleball. Existing bathrooms are far in the background.

Opponents hope for a townwide referendum. They’ve gathered over 600 signatures on a petition. Yet they face a tight deadline — 4:30 p.m. tonight — to find over 1,000 more. The town charter provides for a vote if 10% of all registered voters request one.

Bathroom foe Alan Schur believes many Westporters are unaware of the proposed bathrooms; that they oppose the cost, and that — despite 15 public meetings — they wanted more transparency in the process.

Parks & Recreation Commission chair Charlie Haberstroh says that the bathroom will “help everyone experience South Beach. There is a significant lack of facilities there. The port-o-potties are sub-optimal.”

Haberstroh notes that the entire beach is in a 100-year floodplain. Town and federal regulations require any new building to be waterproofed. That requires an 11-foot foundation.

Compo Beach is many things, to many people. Right now, the only permanent bathrooms are on the main beach, and at Ned Dimes Marina. (Drone photo/Brandon Malin)

Moving the site would add another $60,000 just for studies, he says. Servicing the debt for the $840,000 capital expenditure will cost $5 a year for each beach sticker holder.

The proposal went through many town bodies, Haberstroh adds. Besides the strong RTM vote, the Board of Finance approved it 6-1.

“We have smart, responsible people in government who have asked lots of questions,” he says. “They’ve studied this for a long time.”

Referring to both the approval process and the referendum petition, Haberstroh says, “This is democracy. I’m 150% for it. But it’s been a long, difficult road.”

 

Pickleballers: Beach Bathrooms Don’t Pass The Smell Test

By many measures (though not the weather), this has been a wonderful summer.

Parks and Recreation’s Compo Beach-calming plans minimized crowds, and maximized cleanliness. Innovations like the Mobi-Mat and reworking the entrance road drew raves.

A few more ideas are in the works. A walkway — similar to the one built last year between the pavilion and cannons — is set for South Beach. Bathrooms will replace port-o-potties nearby.

“Nearby” means close to the pickleball area. Constructed a few years ago, the courts have seen steadily increased use.

Compo Beach pickleball courts. Existing bathrooms are far in the background.

Recently, players put down their paddles, picked up pens, and protested Parks and Rec’s plans.

In letters to 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, Parks and Recreation Department director Jen Fava and Parks and Recreation Commission chair Charlie Haberstroh, the pickleballers cite several concerns:

  • The new bathrooms “will block both the lovely views and welcoming air flow/breeze”
  • They’ll “most likely result in unwelcoming smells (sewage related, disinfectant, etc.)”
  • “Staring at the back of a bathroom is not anyone’s idea of a good time.”

One writer argues that moving the location “just 50 feet over would make a huge difference to the 100+ pickleball players in town (with more joining the sport every day!)”

Granted, this is a first world problem. Billions of citizens around the globe have no access to sanitation of any kind — let alone pickleball courts.

But it’s a reflection of the love Westporters have for Compo Beach that the location of new bathrooms creates such a you-know-what storm.