DARIEN, CT — Darien officials are urging visitors of Great Island to follow the rules that were established for early pedestrian access following “concerning” incidents over the past few weeks.

Great Island Advisory Committee (GIAC) Chair and Selectman Monica McNally gave an update on early access at the 60-plus acre parcel of land during the GIAC’s regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday.

“We’ve had numerous instances where people are biking or bringing their dogs, or not staying on the pavement. Those are concerning,” McNally said.

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Currently, visitors must stay on the paved loop around the property. No pets, bicycles, including scooters, or watercrafts are allowed.

There have also been incidents of trespassing, notably at the gatehouse, McNally said.
“I have to make this really, really clear for people. The town did not purchase the gatehouse. We’ve had instances where people are going up to the door of the gatehouse or looking in the window, or going around the back and that is trespassing. That’s illegal. You wouldn’t want anyone to do that on your property,” McNally said.

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People have also tried to access the island from Long Neck Point, from the two entrances at Ziggy’s Way and Great Island Road.

“There are gates there, and there are ‘no trespassing’ signs on them, and that’s because it’s private property. You can’t open the gate and go onto that property,” McNally added, saying that some of the instances are due to “true confusion.”

More signage could be placed at entrances to the property to remind visitors where to enter.

“I’ve spoken with the police and they are aware of the situation. They have asked residents and people living on Great Island, but also residents who are seeing rule breakers, to please call the police and let them know.”

First Selectman Jon Zagrodzky said the rules that were established for early access “were not arbitrarily determined.”

“We’re going to stay actively engaged on these rules and refresh them in time. For right now, they are in place for people’s safety and for private property owners, so please respect them,” he said. “That will help us ensure that this property can be enjoyed controversy-free for a long time.”

Aside from some concerns about the rules, McNally said the early access has been “fantastic,” and she encouraged more people to come out and experience the property.

The early access period was established so residents can visit the island and ultimately provide feedback on what they’d like to see the property be used for.

“We’ve had some really great weather, and I hope people continue to go out there,” McNally said. “This next phase is really, really exciting. The more input we have from residents, the better.”

Bids for construction to widen the access road to Great Island are due on April 4, McNally noted.
Construction is slated to begin late April or early May, at which point pedestrian access will be limited to the weekends.

Check out the ground rules for Great Island here.

View the entire Great Island Advisory Committee meeting on demand on Darien TV79.

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