This month on “Wake Up Call,” GOOD Morning Wilton’s monthly podcast on Fairfield County Talk Radio, produced by Sharc Creative, our interviews touched on economic development and business growth in Wilton.

First we interviewed Rick Tomasetti, the newly named chair of the Planning & Zoning Commission (P&Z), about development and the planning process in town–how applications for new projects are handled, what his approach is to balancing development with preservation, and what he thinks might need to change about the way the town handles P&Z.

Like Tomasetti says, P&Z is super important, and will become even more so in the next few years, as the need to grow Wilton’s commercial tax base reaches critical levels. Just why is what happens on the P&Z Commission so crucial?  “We lay out the potential tax base for the town,” says Tomasetti. “We all [as residents] think of it in terms of our one-acre or two-acre home. But in terms of development of the commercial tax base, it all derives from the development that occurs mainly on Route 7 and Wilton Center.”

Attitudes about Wilton’s future have changed since Tomasetti first joined the commission four years ago–something he and his fellow P&Z commissioners heard more about from the public as part of the recent Plan of Conservation and Development revision process. In fact, Tomasetti was pleasantly surprised by how much residents now support more commercial development.

“When I took over, it seemed that most of what was taking place in the Plan of Conservation and Development was the conservation side of it. It is important that we protect what’s left of our rural character–I grew up here, I don’t want to see that dramatically change. But at the same time, I think we’ve fallen down on the planning side of it–the development side of it. Where the document historically was more about preservation, this one is more pro-development. It was a happy surprise–we need to grow. That’s the suburban model, it’s a growth model; and if you fail to grow, it’s not a good situation,” he tells us.

For this month’s “Wake Up Call,” we also spoke with a couple who recently had to navigate the P&Z approvals process in order to open Wilton’s newest business. Melissa and Sergio Ferreira joined us to talk about the upcoming opening of SoBol, their new Wilton Center smoothie cafe and juice bar, opening on Wednesday, Dec. 18. SoBol is a franchise that is mostly known for making great açaí bowls, combining blended fruits and vegetables with granola and often nut butters. Wilton is the second location (the Ferreiras also own a successful location in Ridgefield) and they’re excited about coming to the Wilton community. (The Wilton manager, Alex Morrison, also sat in on the podcast interview.)

Fairfield County Talk Radio and “Wake Up Call” is brought to listeners by the following sponsors:  Georgetown Orthodontics (with offices in Redding and Norwalk); Wilton Chamber of Commerce; Arton Builders–Forward Thinking Multi-Discipline Construction; and Dagny’s, the Real Estate Boutique of Fairfield County.

Wake Up Call broadcasts live from Orem’s Diner on the second Tuesday of every month from 8-9 a.m.. To listen live, subscribe on iTunes or download the Fairfield County Talk Radio app from the App Store. For past “Wake Up Call” episodes, visit our homepage on the Fairfield County Talk Radio website.