For generations, Potato Hill in Westport has brought joy and thrills to sledders, both young and old.  In recent years, however, some wonder if there has been a crackdown with allowing people to sled on the hill.  We got some answers.

We talked to the Deputy Police Chief for the Town of Westport, John Bell, to get some accurate information about what, if anything, is allowed when it comes to sledding on Potato Hill.

Potato Hill Is Private Property

"First off," said Bell, "that's private property.  As far as I know, the owners have never called us and complained about people sledding.

Parking is the Real Problem with Potato Hill

When people flock to Potato Hill, it is usually on a day after a big snowstorm.  The snowbanks that form after plowing make an already narrow, muddy road even more narrow and sloppy.  The little parking area fills up, the drivers park their cars on Cadman's Neck Road, and the are blocking the road.  "They're essentially parking in the middle of the road," says Bell.  "That's not OK.  People cannot obstruct the road."

Emergency Vehicles Can't Get Through

Bell says that Westport Police don't go down to Potato Hill looking for the traffic issues.  He says that neighbors will call the police when sledders' cars block the road.  "There is concern that fire engines or ambulances would not be able to make it to some of the homes in the neighborhood in an emergency," said Bell.

"Before we tag or ticket or anything, we usually look for the owners of those vehicles to try to get them to move them.  It's only when we can't find the owners that we ticket, tag and tow."

Bottom line

The owners of Potato Hill don't seem to mind allowing winter fun on their property.  The crackdown is not on the sledding, it's on the parking for safety reasons.  Dropping off sledders seems to be your best bet to avoid parking issues.