Over the last several months, private developers have been pursuing several multi-family housing developments in Wilton, with what First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice has called an unprecedented level of interest.

There’s no question that housing is a strategically critical issue in terms of the imperative to achieve more diverse housing options, including affordable housing, in Wilton.

For readers who may be just catching up on the progress of the various proposals currently before Wilton town boards and commissions, GOOD Morning Wilton is providing an update on where each project currently stands.

141 Danbury Road

Status: final application was filed on July 19

In a pre-application review, the rendering of 141 Danbury Rd. included controversial lofted areas on the upper level which gave the appearance of a fifth story

Overview:

  • 173 units at the former site of the Melissa and Doug offices
  • 18 affordable housing units
  • The project has received multiple pre-application reviews by the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission and Architectural Review Board (ARB), both of which had concerns about the scale of the building and its “context”
  • The project has generally been praised for its treatment of the bordering Norwalk River and wetland areas, both as an enjoyable feature for tenants as well as from an environmental standpoint. According to the applicant’s summary of the environmental impact statement, the proposed development plan would be a “net environmental benefit”:

“The proposed site work, taken in total, will provide a net environmental benefit to the Norwalk River and the riparian wetland. The character and functions of the onsite regulated areas are expected to be significantly [improved] after the completion of this site work” in aspects such as water quality, sediment, stormwater drainage, native plants, wildlife and visual appearance, among others.

Outstanding Issues/Expected Next Steps:

  • Look for a final design that reflects P&Z and ARB feedback on the imposing visual impact along Danbury Rd.
  • Approval by P&Z will require a text amendment for the DE-5 zoning regulation; the applicant has also proposed an “overlay” to the zone which would allow for the conversion of the commercial property to residential
  • Expect this application to be on P&Z’s agenda with a Public Hearing in September. (Note there are procedures for residents to have their comments included in the hearing, either in advance or in real-time. Information will be posted on the town website, or see the general instructions at the bottom of this story.)

2 and 24 Pimpewaug Rd.

Status: A second pre-application review was conducted by P&Z on July 26

An earlier rendering of Alterra Wilton as shown in the first pre-application review, before the applicant announced the historic Gregory house would be preserved on the property

Overview:

  • 156 units in three residential buildings
  • 10% affordable units
  • Envisioned by the developer as a “first-rate, luxury community” with an array of “resort quality” amenities including a clubhouse, pool and some walking pathways/footbridge over wetland areas
  • The revised proposal would include the preservation of the historic Gregory house “in perpetuity”

Outstanding Issues/Expected Next Steps:

  • P&Z sees potential in the project but so far hasn’t sparked to the plans presented by the developer’s team
  • P&Z challenged the developer to come up with a more creative and thoughtful approach to the building layout, the unique topography (including wetlands in the center of the property) and the integration of the Gregory house into the site plan
  • Significant questions remain about traffic, pedestrian connectivity and impact on residential neighbors

[Author’s note: Due to a potential conflict of interest, any GMW coverage of the developer’s application for 2 and 24 Pimpewaug Road is neither written nor edited by GOOD Morning Wilton‘s editor.]

3 Hubbard Rd.

Status: Initially brought to P&Z’s attention in early 2020, a second pre-application review was recently requested by the developer (on July 28)

Overview:

  • 24 units located in Wilton Center, near the intersection of Old Ridgefield Rd., on the same property as the apartment building known as IVE Wilton Center (formerly the Wilton Arms Apartments)
  • five affordable units
  • Revised plans include modified architecture (as seen in the above rendering) and a reduction in the number of units (from 27 originally discussed)
  • In response to P&Z feedback on the original plans, the developer has also added sidewalks and pedestrian access to Wilton Center

Outstanding Issues/Expected Next Steps:

  • From the beginning, site coverage and building height were concerns of P&Z
  • The pre-application review requested by the developer is expected to be on the agenda for the Aug. 16 P&Z meeting (a link to the Zoom meeting, which is open for public viewing, may be found on the meeting agenda posted on the town website)

64 Danbury Rd.

Status: A pre-application review was conducted by P&Z on Feb. 28

Overview:

  • 116 units in the Wilton Corporate Park
  • 10% affordable units
  • Single story “flats” and townhouse apartments over garages, in multi-unit modules
  • 3,000-square-foot amenity center and pool

Outstanding Issues/Expected Next Steps:

  • P&Z seems open to the project, but density and setbacks infringe on Wilton’s current regulations
  • A specific architectural direction has not yet been presented, only the above conceptual ideas. The developer has promised to “deliver really profound, impactful architecture that’s timeless and tasteful and fits within the town.”
  • Town Planner Michael Wrinn told GMW he has “no news” on the status of the developer’s plans for this property. (This proposal may have been relegated to the developer’s back burner as the same developer is seeking approval of the 141 Danbury Rd. project.)

24 Danbury Rd.

Status: Two pre-application reviews were conducted, one review by P&Z (July 12) and one review by the ARB (July 1)

Overview:

  • 89 units on the northbound side of Danbury Rd., near the intersection of Kent Rd.
  • 30% affordable units — a much higher proportion than other developers are proposing for current proposals
  • A mixed-use building with retail space on the ground level, and 4-5 stories of apartments above that

Outstanding Issues/Expected Next Steps:

  • P&Z and the ARB viewed the initial plans as ill-conceived and architecturally sub-par; with the power of the 8-30(g) affordable housing statute behind it, the proposal flagrantly disregards Wilton’s current zoning regulations
  • The developer emphasizes the building is on-trend with changing live/work lifestyles and believes that the building’s “green” features — like solar panels and rooftop green space — outweigh concessions on building height, density and setback regulations
  • The circulation of cars within the property and emergency access are additional concerns
  • Town Planner Michael Wrinn pointed out the ball is in the developer’s hands; Wilton will have to wait and see whether the developer will change any aspect of the initial plans and/or come forward with an application

221 Danbury Rd.

Status: Two pre-application reviews were conducted, one review by P&Z (July 12) and one review by the ARB (July 1)

Overview:

  • The same developer as the 24 Danbury Rd. project
  • 150 units just south of the Our Lady of Fatima church/school complex
  • 30% of the units would be affordable units — as with 24 Danbury Rd., a high proportion compared to what other developers are proposing
  • five stories above the grade level parking/ground floor

Outstanding Issues/Expected Next Steps:

  • As with 24 Danbury Rd., P&Z and the ARB strongly rebuked the design for being out of context with surrounding properties and for the apparent disregard for Wilton’s current zoning regulations
  • Plans for cars entering and exiting the property were also particularly concerning
  • The project is seen by P&Z as being driven by the 8-30(g) statute without being visionary or forward-thinking for the community
  • As with 24 Danbury Rd., there is no known timeline for the developer’s next move

Already Approved

In case you missed it, some projects have already earned approval from the town:

  • 200 Danbury Rd., at the corner of Sharp Hill Rd., now under construction, with 24 residential units
  • 300 Danbury Rd., previously known as Crossways, at the intersection of Ridgefield Rd., with 74 residential units (currently on hold as the developer seeks new funding)
  • 2 Hollyhock Ln., a mixed-use commercial building approved for conversion to 18 apartments
  • 487 Danbury Rd., where a new building with two two-bedroom apartments would be constructed on a property with a historic house and one other building which are currently being used as office and residential spaces

Public Hearings Matter

Not sure how to weigh in with your opinions in a P&Z Public Hearing? You can do so in advance or during a hearing, but there are procedures that must be followed. Here are some general guidelines:

Public comments for Public Hearing agenda items will only be read aloud at the meeting if they (i) are sent via email to Michael Wrinn, (ii) state your full name and address, (iii) identify the Public Hearing agenda item to which your comment relates, and (iv) are received during the Public Hearing and before the public comment session on that agenda item ends. Comments on Public Hearing items that do not meet these requirements will be placed in the public file but will not be read aloud during the meeting. Comments not pertaining to Public Hearing items will not be read aloud during the meeting.

If you would like to give your Public Hearing comments by participating in real-time in the meeting, an email must be sent well in advance to Michael Wrinn, stating your name and address and the Public Hearing agenda item to which your comments will relate. Meeting participation details will be emailed to you. 

Meeting materials are available on the Town of Wilton website on the Planning and Zoning Commission webpage under “Current and Upcoming Public Hearings.”

3 replies on “Commercial Real-Estate Development Status Update: Which Multi-Family Housing Projects Are Nearing Approval in Wilton?”

  1. Somebody, like the politicians who handed everything to developers, forgot to ask the Wilton residents what they really think about the topography of our town becoming Brooklyn. Apartments, yes, but so many shoved into one town is ridiculous. It’s bad enough we have to see the third world-looking apartments when we drive past the DMV.

  2. This town’s gonna be looking more like a Lego City set than the town of Wilton soon. The real shame here is that the Little Pub will be ruined if that 24 Danbury Road thing gets approved.

  3. Why do they all look depressingly the same? Yes – Brooklyn and Lego City are good comparisons.

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