ELECTION 2021: Meet the Candidates — Christopher Pagliaro, Planning & Zoning Commission

Bio

Christopher Pagliaro has been a vocal member of Planning and Zoning since 2017. A nationally recognized architect, Chris uses his extensive knowledge of architecture and planning to improve the quality of the natural and built environment in Wilton. Chris believes that Wilton must look forward to developing an ecosystem that balances growth within the deep history of the community and continues to provide a bucolic environment while providing opportunity for successful retail, restaurants and services; and has challenged the community to demand a higher quality product. Chris was active in creating the most forward-thinking POCD in Wilton’s history, and spearheaded the effort to professionally master-plan Wilton Center, including regulatory change. He and his wife, Dorothy, have lived in Wilton for 26 years, where they raised two children.

Op-Ed

Twenty-six years ago, my wife and I moved our family to Wilton for many of the same reasons as you: the charm and history, bucolic serenity, safety, its schools — and, as much as anything else, what Wilton does not represent. Four years ago, I endeavored to run for the Planning and Zoning Commission because I believe in putting my efforts into things that I believe in. Knowing that our town would commence a new Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) that would set the standards for the next decade, I wanted to be a part of that. The result was the most forward-thinking POCD in the town’s history. But that was only the start. The POCD recommended the next steps be to master plan its micro-communities, such as Wilton Center, Cannondale, Georgetown, and “Gateway.”  In addition to preserving, expanding, and improving its environmental assets through the town-wide public meetings, surveys, and interaction, the POCD also indicated that we must find ways to improve the tax base, our own infrastructure, and diversity in housing that will attract the next generation of Wiltonians while retaining those who too commonly leave our town when their children finish with the school system. We must also find ways to allow businesses that invest in Wilton to thrive — from retail to restaurants. We must embrace the Wilton that attracted us, but we must also be forward-thinking and have a vision as to what we want Wilton to be for the next half-century and beyond. I often think back to my time in architecture school where I learned, “We cannot be so concerned with history that we are afraid to let it happen.”  We are in the midst of continuing the development of Wilton’s history.

As a practicing architect who does work from Canada to Florida, I have had the opportunity to be exposed to countless communities and therefore have experienced first-hand the pros and the cons of their land use regulations, including thoughtful approaches to regulation, preservation, and growth. I became an architect because communities and buildings speak to me. The natural and built environments speak to all of us. We envision “places” based on the subconscious experience of history, scale, space-making, the vistas created by man and nature. We are Wilton, and my goal as a P&Z Commissioner has been to make Wilton the best Wilton possible. That has included not only the master planning of its future but raising the bar on the applications that have come before us. Helping to establish an Architectural Review Board, and challenging developers to partake in our community, but with higher standards and respect for what Wilton represents.

I believe in value and quality of life. Our schools are vital to this, although I believe that we can no longer solely rely on our school systems to be the attraction to our town. All of our neighbors offer excellent school systems, but they also offer amenities that Wilton does not. We will never have Long Island Sound. We don’t have a town pool or golf course. But we have other assets that can be improved: parks, playing fields, our interaction with the Norwalk River.  My time on P&Z has required dedication and hours that are beyond description — but I hope to remain a part of the journey and to advance the dialogue that was started in 2017.