People gather July 20, 2022, for swim lessons and other activities at the town beach on Cochnewagon Lake in Monmouth. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file

MONMOUTH — Town officials are discussing restricting access to the town beach off Beach Road for people who do not reside or pay taxes in Monmouth.

The proposed town beach ordinance, the details of which are not yet finalized, would bar nonresidents and nontaxpayers from going to the beach at Cochnewagon Lake unless they purchase a daily or weekly beach pass from the town office.

The ordinance will be presented as a nonbinding referendum question on the ballot during the June 11 elections for residents to vote on, said Town Manager Justin Poirier. He said a public hearing is expected on March 20, where residents can offer their opinions and suggestions regarding the ordinance. If passed, the ordinance will bestow authority to the Select Board to charge people to access the beach, which it currently doesn’t have.

What these passes would cost the nonresidents and nontaxpayers has not yet been decided. Town officials said they will evaluate similar ordinances in the neighboring communities, like Readfield and Wayne, to decide a figure, expected to be around $40 for a daily pass and $100 for a weekly one.

The parking facilities at the beach will also be affected. Parking will be limited to vehicles with valid beach passes between June 15 and Sept. 15 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Outside those dates, however, the lot will be open for general parking.

Lt. Dana Wessling of the Monmouth Police Department said that parking and traffic are seldom an issue.


“It (parking lot) does fill up, but in the 14 years I have been here, we have never had any issues with traffic or parking at the beach,” Wessling said.

Residents and property owners will be allowed access through a free annual beach pass. Property owners will have to show proof of tax payment to get the pass.

The proposed ordinance was prompted last year, when the beach was overflowing with people on a few days. Some residents were not allowed to make the most of a sunny afternoon.

“After those few days, residents were like, ‘Oh, we shouldn’t allow nonresidents for free if this is going to be the case,’” said Selectman Kent Ackley. “So, what it does is help us solve the problem for those one or two days when everyone wants to be on the beach. We as a Select Board can prioritize taxpayers and residents to get the first crack at the beach.”

Enforcing the ordinance will fall under the purview of an authorized law enforcement officer, the beach staff, the town manager, or any other individual designated by the Select Board.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story included an incorrect address for the town beach. 

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