Marion deliberates beach guest passes for Rochester residents

Oct 5, 2021

MARION — Rochester and Marion are working on a way to allow Rochester residents to bring guests to Silvershell Beach.

Rochester residents, who can purchase beach passes in Marion, have been left out of bringing guests to the beach in recent years, as Marion halted the sale of day passes to Silvershell due to increased traffic.

“There hasn’t been the availability or option for family members to come to the beach with them in a separate car,” Marion Town Administrator Jay McGrail said.

Rochester officials brought the issue up with McGrail in a previous meeting, which included officials from both towns, and the group worked on potential solutions for the issue. One such solution would be allowing Rochester to sell a number of guest passes to residents, like Marion does for its residents.

The Marion Select board discussed the issue at an Oct. 5 meeting. While the board didn’t decide whether to allot Rochester any guest passes, McGrail noted that they would likely cost $35, and 50 passes would be made available for Rochester residents.

The move would further add to the towns’ sharing of public spaces, as Rochester pays for one of the Silverhell lifeguards and has access to the beach, and Marion is allowed to use Rochester’s athletic fields.

“It’s fairly equitable,” McGrail said.

But Select Board Member John Waterman brought up some concerns regarding allowing Rochester to sell guest passes, including the potential for residents there to share passes with one another.

“Maybe it’s not worth doing anything about,” Waterman said, but he added that the town had time before next summer to decide on the sale of passes.

“Honestly, I think guest passes are a little loosey-goosey,” McGrail said, no matter whose residents are allowed to purchase them.