During Monday evening’s May 23 meeting, the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) will discuss a large-scale development proposed for Glover Ave. in Norwalk near the junction of Route 7 and Grist Mill Road. Currently known as North7 or North Seven, the project lies entirely within the bounds of Norwalk, and far enough from the border that Wilton is not involved in the review process in an official capacity. However, the Norwalk Zoning Commission has invited comments from Wilton’s P&Z and the town ahead of a scheduled June 2 hearing “as a courtesy, because of the scope of the project.”
The plans proposed for the North7 complex outline a series of seven towers between five and fifteen stories tall, which would collectively house 1,300 dwelling units and 28,000 square feet of retail. Building & Land Technology (BLT), developers of The Curb apartments right across Glover Ave., are spearheading the effort. BLT submitted a master plan to the town of Norwalk in May 2020, describing a complex that would appeal to “on-site corporate workers, adventurous aspirationals, maturing millennials, and empty nesters.”
Renderings show that several of the towers would be visible from Route 7 and Wilton neighbors have already raised concerns about the traffic impacts of adding such a significant number of apartments off an already congested intersection, with residual impact on Belden Hill Rd.
Some of the traffic studies include suggested roadway changes that could be considered, including widening the intersection of Rte. 7 and Grist Mill Rd. at the Department of Motor Vehicles to add additional turn lanes; aligning Grist Mill Rd. and Glover Ave. to create a four-way intersection at the end of the Rte. 7 Connector (along with additional turn lanes); and other changes to Rte. 7.
On May 13, a Facebook group called Residents Concerned About North 7 Development was founded and now includes 150 members. Wilton residents David Cristini is an administrator of the Facebook group along with Matt Raimondi, who currently serves on Wilton’s Board of Finance.
In order to proceed, the developers will need to receive approval from the Norwalk Zoning Commission for a zoning map amendment, zoning text amendment, and master plan special permit. BLT’s complete filings are available on Norwalk’s dedicated North7 page, and include drainage and sanitary sewer analyses for the complex and a traffic impact study, which concludes that roadway improvements already underway by the state will be sufficient “to mitigate existing capacity issues as well as provide additional capacity to accommodate future traffic volumes.”
P&Z is expected to discuss these and other concerns in the second half of the May 23 meeting. Future plans for Kimco Realty’s Wilton River Park Wilton Center campus, the Wilton Land Conservation Trust’s 183 Ridgefield Rd. property, and 300 Danbury Rd. are also on the agenda. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. on zoom and members of the public are encouraged to attend. However, the topic of North7 will be covered in a communications report from Town Planner Michael Wrinn; no public hearing on the issue is planned as part of this meeting.
It is inappropriate and highly irregular for the apparatus of Norwalk City Government to seek comments from Wilton, if Wilton has no legal standing to assert standing with respect to the project. In theory, the Norwalk City Government is accountable to the electorate of Norwalk, and ONLY to the electorate of Norwalk — unless it is required by law to address another entity, person, or jurisdiction. Why not ask the City of San Francisco what they think of the project? They might have an opinion. Classic Norwalk City Hall arrogance. They do literally whatever they want, rotten to the core. City Hall comes first, they do literally whatever they want, and the people who elected them — perhaps a distant, distant second. But to have a public hearing? No, of course not. Not in Norwalk. Classic.
Matt Lechner, former Adj. Associate Professor of Real Estate, New York University
Please Norwalk, do try to restrain wanton development with thoughts of our good neighbors to the north.
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