Town Manager Reginald “Buzz” Stapczynski agreed.
“The pond has been very busy this year,” he said. “We have limited parking and our first priority is our town residents. I wouldn’t have made the decision if we didn’t have the heat wave and the influx of town residents. I don’t remember a summer quite as hot as this with repeated heat waves.”
But the ban on nonresidents could imperil the town’s access to future federal grants.
According to documents provided to The Andover Townsman by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the grant for the Pomps Pond bathhouse was to help in the “design and construction” of the new structure. The money came from the U.S. Department of Interior’s Land and Water Conservation Fund.
According to Section 8-2 of the Federal Financial Assistance Manual governing the fund, discrimination on the basis of residence is prohibited. A spokeswoman for the state said the provision has no statute of limitations. She said that if the town continues to deny entry for nonresidents, it will be ineligible for future federal funding under the grant program.
It appears the town may also be violating the federal statute in another way. The statute requires that “annual permit systems available to residents must also be available to nonresidents.” But at Pomps, nonresidents can purchase daily passes only. Annual passes are available only to residents.
Selectmen Chairman Alex Vispoli said last week that he would ask the town manager to present information about the closure to his board sometime in the next couple of weeks.
However, the pond closes in mid-August for the season.