Under new guidance from First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice, the Economic Development Commission (EDC) was recently tasked with developing recommendations for Wilton’s signage regulations, which the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) has indicated a desire to update.
At the Wednesday, Dec. 7 EDC meeting, the Commission began its work on that task, kicking off a process proposed by Vanderslice at the EDC’s previous meeting.
The work is being described as “the homework and the legwork” needed to aid P&Z in the effort to modify and optimize Wilton’s signage regulations.
The commissioners established two subcommittees that will focus on different aspects of the project:
- Evaluation: EDC Chair Prasad Iyer, Vice Chair Jake Lubel and Peter Squitieri will review Wilton’s current regulations and complete a competitive assessment of sign types and regulations for surrounding towns including Darien, Westport and New Canaan.
- Business Survey: Commissioners Marty Avallone, John DiCenzo and Alison Smith will design and execute a survey of Wilton businesses to measure their awareness and understanding of Wilton’s signage regulations and to identify their signage needs and wants.
Wilton’s Director of Planning and Land Use Management/Town Planner Michael Wrinn attended the Dec. 7 meeting to give the commissioners an overview of Wilton’s signage environment.
He emphasized that signage is “very important” from an economic, aesthetic and competitive standpoint.
It’s a balancing act, according to Wrinn.
“We’re trying to balance the need for some visibility for [businesses] with something that complies with regulations.”
That desire to strike the right balance between businesses’ interests and those of the Town is reflected in Wilton’s current signage regulations, which state the overall goal is:
“To address the need for adequate business identification, advertising and visual communication within the Town through the display of attractive, well-designed signs, while recognizing the Town’s responsibility to promote public safety, protect property values, minimize visual clutter and enhance the physical appearance of the Town.”
Wrinn conceded that the burden on businesses to comply with current regulations can be “onerous,” especially for small businesses.
He referred to the Alternative Sign Program which P&Z has offered to large properties (such as shopping centers, office buildings and other developments larger than 10,000 sq. ft.) for signage that doesn’t meet the current regulations.
“That’s a provision that gives [P&Z] the ability essentially to waive the signage regulations if they feel it’s appropriate. But that doesn’t help the small business owner, which I think is the one that has the most problems trying to be seen,” Wrinn said.
Both Wrinn and Vanderslice offered the commissioners insights on numerous issues and challenges for signage regulations in Wilton, ranging from safety issues with errant A-frame signs to business owners’ lack of awareness (and in some cases, deliberate flouting) of the regulations.
The entire discussion can be heard in a Zoom recording of the meeting posted on the Town website.
Can’t wait for the survey? Email your questions and comments about Wilton’s signage regulations to the EDC.
2023 EDC Meeting Dates
The EDC has set the following regular meeting schedules for 2023:
- January 11
- February 8
- March 8
- April 19
- May 10
- June 14
- July 12
- August 23
- September 13
- October 11
- November 8
- December 13