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Next wave: Compo Beach recommendations set for park & rec review

Plans for the long-term future of Compo Beach, which over the course of the last several months have at times been buffeted by a riptide of controversy, are scheduled to be reviewed next week in the next stage of the approval process.

Two options reviewed by the Compo Beach Site Improvement Committee have been forwarded to the Parks and Recreations, which plans a hearing on the draft recommendations at 7:30 p.m. Monday in Town Hall. The meeting, however, will be rescheduled if the town's Independence Day fireworks show set for Thursday night is postponed by inclement weather. That's because the rain date for the fireworks is also Monday night and officials think that event could cloud attendance for the Compo hearing.

"The quick update is that the draft -- the final draft, if you will -- of the Compo Beach master plan is now posted on the website," Stuart McCarthy, the parks and recreation director, told the Parks and Recreation Commission last week.

The park and rec hearing is designed to gather more public comments on the plans, which have already been the subject of a months-long public review by the Compo panel as it assembled the draft recommendations.

Over the course of those meetings, the most controversial of the recommendations proved to be a proposal to reconfigure parking in the park. Many strongly objected to a proposal to move parking spots back from the beachfront to allow space for a pedestrian pathway, prompting the Compo committee to suggest another option that would leave the parking as currently configured.

Others questioned plans to totally replace the existing bathhouse, which was damaged during Superstorm Sandy, with a new structure estimated to cost more than $4 million. There also were several different options for upgrading that facility as well.

Asked the reason for the planned Monday meeting by Parks and Recreation Chairman Charles Haberstroh, McCarthy said, "It is for the commission to make any recommendations or make any changes to that plan before it is finalized." After that, he said, "We'll take that through the zoning board to get their comments."

"Any attempt to implement any portion of the plan will have a full public hearing," McCarthy said.

"It's going to be a long meeting, I suspect," said Haberstroh, who suggested the meeting be televised. "The meetings of the Compo Site Improvement Committee have not been televised.

When the final plan "goes to funding bodies it'll be quite public, I'm sure," Haberstroh added.

First Selectman Jim Marpe, in a statement issued this week, said, "There has been a lot of good give and take in the drafting process. The public has made their views heard on many topics and a number of constructive adjustments and modifications have been made to the plan since the initial draft reflecting some of those concerns."

Marpe also stressed, "This is not the end of the process and the plan is still a draft document subject to further change and revision based on the review of the Parks and Recreation Commission and additional input from the public. I encourage all interested citizens to attend the meeting and continue to provide suggestions and feedback."

The full master plan for Compo Beach improvements, including options A and B, can be viewed here: www.compobeach2.com.

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