Town of Ridgefield, CT
Fairfield County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Ridgefield 7-13-1988 (Ch. 8 of the 1974 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Alcoholic beverages — See Ch. 116.
Animals — See Ch. 120.
Bicycles and play vehicles — See Ch. 128.
Open burning — See Ch. 141.
Fireworks — See Ch. 179.
Golf course — See Ch. 201.
Littering — See Ch. 233.
Noise — See Ch. 250.
Open space use — See Ch. 262.
The purpose of this chapter is to promote the peace, safety and welfare of the Town of Ridgefield and its inhabitants through the regulation of use of public property and facilities owned by the Town.
A. 
For the purposes of this chapter, words of the masculine gender include the feminine and the neuter, and when the sense so indicates, words of the neuter gender may refer to any gender. Words of the singular tense include the plural, and words in the plural tense include the singular.
B. 
For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
ALCOHOLIC LIQUOR
Shall have the same meaning as in the Connecticut Liquor Control Act, C.G.S. § 30-1 et seq., as amended.
BLANKET PERMIT
A permit for use of a park on a regularly scheduled basis.
COMMISSION
Where applicable, the Ridgefield Parks and Recreation Commission, the Ridgefield Conservation Commission, the Ridgefield Board of Education, the Ridgefield Board of Selectmen, and any other Ridgefield board or commission having jurisdiction over a park. References to "the Commission" shall include all said commissions and boards collectively or shall only include a specific commission or board as the context of this chapter requires.
MOTOR VEHICLE
Any vehicle propelled or drawn by any nonmuscular power and designed for use upon land, except electric battery-operated wheelchairs when operated by physically handicapped persons.
OPEN SPACE
Open space as defined in Chapter 1, § 1-1 of the Code of the Town of Ridgefield, Connecticut.
PARK
Any park, cemetery, playground, athletic field, running track, basketball or tennis court, swimming pool, beach, swimming area, boating facility, body of water, watercourse, or open space owned or used by the Town (regardless of what commission has jurisdiction over such property), and any other area, place, building and structure owned or used by the Town and regulated by the Parks and Recreation Commission. The term "park" shall not include, however, the Town's municipal golf course or any facility mentioned above that is located inside a building under the jurisdiction of the Board of Education.
PERSON
Any natural person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company, board, body politic, or other organization.
POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO CONSUME
Having in one's possession alcoholic liquor in a glass, open bottle, open can, tapped keg or other open container in any park.
RULES AND REGULATIONS
All rules, regulations and policies adopted by the Commission for the purpose of regulating the parks.
STATE
The State of Connecticut.
SUPERINTENDENT
The Superintendent of Ridgefield Parks and Recreation with respect to all parks other than parks under the jurisdiction of the Board of Education, and the Superintendent of Schools (or a designated agent selected by the Board of Education) with respect to parks under the jurisdiction of the Board of Education. The Board of Education may designate the Superintendent of Parks and Recreation as its agent for purposes of carrying out the provisions of this chapter; however, the Board retains the right to withdraw such designation or any other designation at any time.
TOWN
The Town of Ridgefield.
All parks are to be identified on a map which shall be issued within a reasonable time after the adoption of this chapter, and said map shall be reviewed periodically by the Superintendent with the Commission and updated as reasonably necessary. The purpose of said map is only to assist in the identification of park property, and the exclusion of a park from said map shall not affect the applicability of this chapter to said park. The cost of said map and of updating said map shall be paid for by the Town.
The term "park" includes public property under the jurisdiction of various Town commissions and boards, including but not limited to the Parks and Recreation Commission, the Conservation Commission, the Board of Education and the Board of Selectmen. This chapter shall not alter such jurisdiction, and where this chapter anticipates further regulation by issuance of rules and regulations, such rules and regulations shall be adopted by each commission or board separately with respect to the park property under its jurisdiction. In addition, this chapter shall not restrict said commissions and boards from regulating park property under their jurisdiction in a manner not inconsistent with or preempted by this chapter.
The Commission may adopt any rules and regulations that the Commission deems necessary for the regulation of the parks, the issuance of permits and the proper administration of this chapter. Such rules and regulations shall be consistent with this chapter and the statutes of the state.
Nothing in this chapter shall prevent the Commission, the Superintendent or authorized agents, the Town police or any other Town officials or Town employees from:
A. 
Carrying out proper maintenance of any park;
B. 
Undertaking any activities necessary for the improvement or development of a park (for example, cutting hiking trails, erecting signs, building roads, creating or improving playing fields and play areas, building structures, etc.);
C. 
Maintaining order and safety; or
D. 
Carrying out any activities required to deal with emergency situations in a park and utilizing any equipment, motor vehicles or any other means for any such purposes.
The Superintendent, authorized agent or the Commission may for reasonable cause at any time close any park or limit the use of a park or any portion of a park or restrict certain uses to a specific park or parks. The actions of the Superintendent or authorized agent under this section are subject to review and change by the Commission. Except as otherwise provided in a permit, parks shall be open for use by the public from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The Commission may by its rules and regulations change the opening and closing hours for any park.
A. 
Park property.
(1) 
No person shall willfully deface, disfigure or damage anything in a park, including but not limited to any building or structure or any part or parts thereof or the equipment or furnishings thereof, bridges, tables, benches, fireplaces, railings, paving or paving material, waterlines or other public utilities or parts or appurtenances thereof, signs, notices, stakes, posts, boundary markers, fences, chains, gates, athletic equipment or any other structures, equipment or facilities on park property, either real or personal.
(2) 
No person shall do anything that is contrary to the general purposes of a park or in any way injure or impair the beauty, natural resources or usefulness of any park.
B. 
Wildlife and safety.
(1) 
No person shall hunt, molest, hound, harm, kill, trap, shoot, remove or collect any animal or bird.
(2) 
No person shall give or offer or attempt to give any animal, bird or fish any poison or other known noxious substance.
(3) 
Except as permitted in a Town rifle range or under a special event permit [that does not violate Subsection B(1) of this section] issued under § 269-10, no person shall use, carry, or possess firearms, air rifles, spring guns, bows and arrows, slings, or any kind of trapping device, fireworks, or explosives.
C. 
Sanitation.
(1) 
No person above the age of seven shall utilize any rest room, washroom or shower room designated for the opposite gender.
(2) 
No person shall dump, deposit or leave in a park or in any waters in or contiguous to any park or leave anywhere on the ground thereof any waste, garbage, refuse or trash, including but not limited to bottles, broken glass, ashes, paper, boxes, cans, dirt, rubbish, building materials, automobiles or other vehicles or their parts, furniture, appliances, or brush, leaves, logs or debris from adjoining property or elsewhere. All such waste, garbage, refuse or trash shall be carried away from the park by the person responsible for its presence and shall be properly disposed of elsewhere. Picnic trash be deposited in proper receptacles where these are provided.
A. 
Recreational activities.
(1) 
Picnicking. No person shall use any portion of the picnic areas or any building or structure therein for the purpose of picnicking to the exclusion of other persons, nor shall any person use such area and facilities for an unreasonable length of time if facilities are crowded, except as expressly permitted by the Superintendent or authorized agent. The picnic area shall be left clean.
(2) 
Bathing and swimming. No person shall swim or bathe in any pond, stream, spring or any other waters, natural or artificial, in any park except for such areas that are designated by the Commission for that use and under such rules and regulations as have been or may be adopted by the Commission.
(3) 
Boating. No person shall bring in or operate any boat, raft or other craft, whether motor powered or not, upon any waters in any park except in areas designated by the Commission for that use and under such rules and regulations as have been or may be prescribed by the Commission.
(4) 
Golf and model airplanes. No person shall take part in the playing or practicing of the game of golf or hitting golf balls, or the flying of electric-, battery- or fuel-powered model airplanes, except in areas designated by the Commission for such activities and at times that will not disrupt organized activities. If the Commission designates an area for conducting one or more of such activities, the Commission may issue any rules and regulations it deems appropriate for the proper regulation of such activities.
B. 
Pets.
(1) 
No owner, keeper or person having charge of a dog or other animal shall permit or allow or be responsible for permitting or allowing such dog or animal to run loose or to roam at large at any time upon any park, or to injure, chase, harass, or otherwise disturb any person or any species of wildlife.
(2) 
The Commission may prohibit dogs and any other animals from specific parks, buildings or structures or any part thereof.
C. 
Traffic.
(1) 
Motor vehicles.
(a) 
No person shall operate any motor vehicle in a park except in areas designated for such purpose by the Commission or as expressly permitted.
(b) 
All persons shall obey all traffic signs indicating speed, direction, caution, stopping or parking and any other signs posted by the Commission for the proper control of motor vehicles.
(c) 
No person shall fail to obey the lawful directions of any traffic officers or Town employees authorized and instructed to direct traffic in a park.
(d) 
No person shall operate any motor vehicle in a park in excess of the posted speed limit or, where not posted, in excess of 15 miles per hour.
(e) 
No person shall operate any motor vehicle except in accordance with the state motor vehicle laws regarding equipment and operation of vehicles, except as provided herein.
(f) 
No person shall paint, maintain or make repairs (except for emergency repairs such as a flat tire) to any motor vehicle in any park.
(g) 
No person shall park or leave a motor vehicle anywhere in a park after the established closing hour.
(2) 
Bicycles, skateboards and other nonmotorized vehicles. No person shall ride a bicycle, skateboard or other nonmotorized vehicle in areas where such riding is prohibited by the Commission.
A. 
Uses requiring a permit.
(1) 
The following uses of a park or any area in a park are expressly prohibited unless a permit, available only to Ridgefield residents and employees of businesses located in Ridgefield, has been obtained from the Superintendent or authorized agent:
(a) 
Use by organized athletic groups and any other person on a regularly scheduled basis;
(b) 
Consumption of or possession with intent to consume alcoholic liquor (which shall include the consumption or possession with intent to consume of alcoholic liquor in a motor vehicle located in a park);
(c) 
Merchandising or vending any goods, food, refreshments or merchandise, or stationing or placing any stand, cart or vehicle for transportation, sale or display of any such articles;
(d) 
Posting, plastering or affixing any placard, notice or sign;
(e) 
Erecting a structure of any kind, whether permanent or temporary, in any park;
(f) 
Camping or building fires in a park, except for reasonable cooking fires built in fabricated barbecue grills provided by the Commission;
(g) 
Use of a park for special events (for example, car shows, flea markets, art shows, concerts, professional fireworks displays, demonstrations and displays by the Connecticut Fifth Regiment, etc.);
(h) 
Use of a park by groups of 25 or more persons; provided, however, that with respect to groups wishing to hike on trails designated for that purpose and located in open space areas, permits shall only be required for groups of 50 or more persons;
(i) 
Use of the park known as "Sachem Field" by groups of more than 10 persons but fewer than 25 persons. Use of Sachem Field by groups of 25 or more persons is subject to Subsection A(1)(h); and
(j) 
Use of a park outside of the prescribed operating hours.
(2) 
The Superintendent or authorized agent shall have the authority to determine the category or categories of use under which an event or activity falls.
B. 
Application for permit.
(1) 
A person seeking issuance of a permit hereunder shall file an application during normal business hours with the Superintendent or authorized agent accompanied by a fee payable to the Town, in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Parks and Recreation Commission (hereinafter in this section referred to as the "PRC") or the Board of Education (hereinafter in this section referred to as the "BOE"). Wherever in this section action may be taken by the BOE through rules and regulations or otherwise, such action shall apply only to parks under the jurisdiction of the BOE, and action taken by the PRC through its rules and regulations or otherwise shall apply to all other parks. The application shall state:
(a) 
The name and address of the applicant;
(b) 
The day or days and hours for which the permit is desired;
(c) 
The park or portion thereof for which such permit is desired;
(d) 
The activity for which such permit is desired;
(e) 
An estimate of anticipated attendance;
(f) 
The age of the applicants if such permit is desired for consumption of alcohol or use of a park by an organized athletic group; and
(g) 
Any other information which the Superintendent shall find reasonably necessary to a fair determination as to whether a permit should be issued hereunder.
(2) 
A person seeking issuance of a permit hereunder shall submit an application to the Superintendent or authorized agent (except as otherwise required below) within the following time allowances:
(a) 
Organized athletic groups any other persons seeking a permit to use a park on a regularly scheduled basis shall obtain and submit an application for a blanket permit on or before February 1 of the year for which such permit is desired. The date for submission of such application may be changed by rules and regulations of the PRC or the BOE.
(b) 
Groups of fewer than 25 seeking a permit for the use set forth in Subsection A(1)(b) of this section shall submit an application on or before the date of the event [groups of 25 or more are subject to the rules in Subsection B(2)(e)].
(c) 
Persons seeking a permit for uses set forth in Subsection A(1)(c), (d), (e), (f), (i) and (j) of this section shall submit an application on or before the date of the event; provided, however, that if the permit requested is for a group of 25 or more persons, the application shall be submitted in accordance with the rules in Subsection B(2)(e).
(d) 
Persons seeking a permit for a special event shall submit an application directly to the Superintendent at least 90 days prior to the event. Such permit shall be issued only upon the express direction of the Superintendent and in accordance with such special provisions as determined by the PRC or the BOE.
(e) 
Groups seeking a permit for uses that are not covered by Subsection B(2)(a) through (d) are subject to the following rules based on the size of the group:
[1] 
Groups of 25 to 100 shall submit an application at least three working days prior to the event.
[2] 
Groups of 101 to 500 shall submit an application at least 60 days prior to the event.
[3] 
Groups of 501 or more shall submit an application directly to the Superintendent at least 90 days prior to the event. Such permit shall be issued only upon the express direction of the Superintendent and in accordance with such provisions as determined by the PRC or the BOE.
C. 
Liability and insurance.
(1) 
The person to whom a permit is issued, by accepting said permit, specifically agrees to be liable for and to indemnify the Town against liability for personal injury and the expense of repairs of damages to the park.
(2) 
Groups of over 100 and persons seeking a permit for special events must furnish to the Superintendent at least three days prior to the event a surety bond in an amount and form satisfactory to the Superintendent and/or proof satisfactory to the Superintendent that a liability insurance policy, satisfying the insurance requirements of the Town, has been obtained. Said bond and/or insurance policy must provide coverage satisfactory to the Superintendent for personal injury and insure payment for all expenses incurred by the Town directly attributable to and/or caused by use under the permit, including but not limited to repair of damage caused by said use, cleanup of litter and trash, use of extra personnel, and expense or damage caused by breach of Town ordinances, rules or regulations. The park condition will be reviewed by the Superintendent or authorized agent 24 hours before the event and 24 hours after the event to determine conditions and possible damage. The property damage insurance requirements of this subsection shall not apply to the use of a park by an organized athletic group under a blanket permit where such group is paying a fee to the Town fixed by the PRC or BOE for the maintenance of such park or parks. In addition, the insurance requirements may be waived by the Superintendent but only at the direction of or in accordance with rules and regulations established by the PRC or the BOE.
D. 
Restrictions on issuance of permits for use of athletic fields under the jurisdiction of the Board of Education.
(1) 
The athletic fields and other park facilities located at the Ridgefield High School which are under the jurisdiction of the BOE shall not be used for any purpose other than high school athletic programs unless the BOE consents to such other use.
(2) 
With respect to all athletic fields under the jurisdiction of the BOE other than the high school fields, use of such fields shall be restricted to school activities from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday during the school year unless the BOE agrees otherwise. This provision shall not be construed to enable any person other than the BOE or the Superintendent of Schools or designated agent to schedule or determine usage of any athletic fields under the jurisdiction of the BOE without the prior written consent of the BOE or the Superintendent of Schools.
(3) 
Adoption of this chapter shall not invalidate any agreements existing on the date of adoption entered into by the Board of Education regarding the use of athletic fields under its jurisdiction.
E. 
Permit subject to restrictions.
(1) 
Permits shall be available solely to Ridgefield residents and employees of businesses located in Ridgefield.
(2) 
Each permit shall be valid only on the day or days, for the hour or hours, for the stated use, and in the particular park or area of a park designated in the permit.
(3) 
The Superintendent may issue blanket permits in accordance with rules and regulations adopted by the PRC or the BOE.
(4) 
Any permit so issued shall, where applicable, become void:
(a) 
Upon official state closing of woodlands;
(b) 
If, in the opinion of the Town Fire Marshal, the fire hazard warrants such action; or
(c) 
If the Superintendent, Commission or State or Town Health Department determines that a hazard to life or property exists or is imminent.
(5) 
A permittee shall be bound by all park rules and regulations as though the same were inserted in said permit.
(6) 
A permittee shall be subject to all requirements imposed by the Liquor Control Act of the state and any other applicable local, state or federal law.
(7) 
The Superintendent shall have the authority to revoke or suspend a permit upon a finding of violation of the terms of the permit or a rule or regulation, or upon other good cause shown.
F. 
Issuance of permit. Assuming all other requirements of this section and all applicable ordinances and Commission rules and regulations have been satisfied, the Superintendent may issue a permit hereunder provided that he finds that the proposed activity or use:
(1) 
Will not unreasonably interfere with or detract from the general public's enjoyment of the park;
(2) 
Will not unreasonably interfere with or detract from the promotion of public health, welfare, safety and recreation;
(3) 
Is not reasonably anticipated to incite violence, crime or disorderly conduct;
(4) 
Will not entail unusual, extraordinary or burdensome expense or police operation by the Town;
(5) 
Will not interrupt an established schedule of recreational activities or that the facilities desired have not been reserved for other use on the day and at the hour requested in the application; and
(6) 
Is not restricted by the deed of the specific park or otherwise prohibited.
G. 
Permit fees. The PRC and the BOE shall have the power to establish fees for the permit use of park property and to fix special and extraordinary fees for the issuance of blanket permits and permits for special events, for the use of a park by groups of 25 or more persons and for such other uses as the PRC and the BOE shall determine. The PRC and the BOE shall fix fees in a manner that does not discriminate unlawfully.
H. 
Appeals from denial of permit. If an application for a permit is denied, the Superintendent or authorized agent shall indicate in writing on the application the reason for denial. Any applicant aggrieved by the decision of the Superintendent or authorized agent may appeal said decision to the PRC or the BOE, as the case may be, by delivering a written notice of appeal to the Chairman of the PRC or the BOE, as the case may be, as a representative of the PRC or BOE, and the PRC or BOE shall hear said appeal no later than 30 days from the receipt thereof. Written notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be mailed to the appellant no less than five days prior to the proposed hearing. The PRC's or BOE's decision shall be by majority vote, except that a tie vote shall serve to affirm the decision of the Superintendent or authorized agent, shall be rendered in writing with a brief description of the basis for the decision, and shall be rendered within 14 days of the completion of the hearing.
I. 
Delegation by Board of Education to Parks and Recreation Commission. If the BOE delegates its responsibilities under this section to the PRC, then during the period of such delegation the rules, regulations, procedures and fees established by the PRC shall govern all aspects of the permit process.
A. 
No persons shall use in any manner whatsoever any park or any part thereof for any illegal purpose or for any purpose in violation of any federal, state or municipal law, ordinance, rule or regulation now in effect or hereafter enacted or adopted.
B. 
No person shall interfere with scheduled recreational and other programs.
C. 
No person shall enter an area posted as "Closed to the Public," nor shall any person use or abet the use of any area in violation of posted notice.
A. 
Any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be fined $100 for each offense. Each violation of a separate section of this chapter shall be considered a separate offense and shall not merge with a violation of any other section of this chapter. Each violation continuing more than one day shall constitute a separate offense for each day said violation continues.
B. 
This chapter may be enforced by the Superintendent, Commission or authorized agent and the Town police.
If any provision of this chapter conflicts with any other provisions of the Code of the Town of Ridgefield, Connecticut, then with respect to parks the provisions of this chapter shall apply.