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East Haven Beach Parking Problem Surfaces at Police Commission Meeting

Published Aug. 06, 2019

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With each summer’s influx of visitors to the East Haven Town Beach comes an influx of complaints about improper and insufficient parking from those in the neighborhood. What hasn’t arrived in any previous season was a viable solution to the issue, though a new proposal has made its way to the town’s traffic authority.

A plan proposed by Town Councilman Joe Deko (D-2) to solve parking woes around the Town Beach was brought to the Board of Police Commissioners (BOPC) at its July 30 meeting. Deko’s plan would ban non-resident parking on a number of local roads and allow residents of those streets to obtain parking passes for visiting friends and family.

Neighbors of the town beach came to the police commission meeting to express their desire for such a parking ban to be pursued.

“On weekends, [parking] is horrible,” said Donna Dowd of Coe Avenue. “If I leave my house, there’s a car right in front.”

She said the parking problem in the area is worst on weekends in the summer.

“Everybody comes from out of town…they park right up Coe Avenue,” she said. “We want some kind of [ban] just in the summer months.”

“[Another] problem is the trash being thrown from all the visitors that come to the town beach. They park on the street. They throw diapers, they throw water bottles and cups,” said Joe Vellali of Bradford Avenue.

Deko’s plan was stalled at a Town Council meeting when Town Attorney Joe Zullo said that the BOPC, not Town Council, has jurisdiction over parking ordinances. He reiterated his position at the police commission meeting.

“You are the traffic authority. You have jurisdiction over the roads in town,” Zullo said. “This commission would be empowered, if it investigated properly and determined there were safety reasons or other reasons that would justify it, to enact some kind of other parking scene down there…but it can’t be the council.”

He also noted that the issue of summer parking may infringe upon the authority of the Recreation Commission, which has jurisdiction over the beach parking lot.

BOPC Chair William Illingworth asked commissioner Eduardo Torrealba, the Traffic and Public Safety Subcommittee chairman, to look into the issue for the commission.

“We will research that and try to get you an answer rather than to bounce you back to the Town Council,” Illingworth told residents in attendance at the meeting.

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