The following is a statement from the Historic District and Historic Properties Commission supporting the removal of the Age Restricted Overlay District (AROD) from Ridgefield Rd.. The Commission has issued the statement in advance of the Monday, May 8, public hearing on an application from Wilton residents before Planning & Zoning to revise AROD zoning regulations.
Historic District and Historic Properties Commission Statement for the May 8, 2017 Public Hearing Regarding the AROD and Ridgefield Road
To the Planning and Zoning Commission:
One of Wilton’s town treasures is in danger of being ruined.
I am referring, of course, to Ridgefield Rd.. It was designated a state scenic road for good reason: Beginning near the Wilton Congregational Church and Historic District #2, it is nearly five miles of stone walls, mature trees, antique homes, historic cemeteries, and tranquil conservation land. It connects us directly to our nation’s history–it is the Revolutionary War route taken by over 1,000 redcoats as they tramped back to Compo Beach from the Raid on Danbury and the Battle of Ridgefield in April, 1777. Lined with structures that have kept their pleasing domestic scale, Ridgefield Rd. has a great deal of character, and is one of the things that makes our town so special.
Wilton’s 2010 Plan of Conservation and Development highlights Wilton’s character: “…open spaces and the overall feeling of ‘open-ness,’ roads lined with trees and stone walls, historic buildings, and scenic vistas.” A stated goal is: to “preserve features that contribute to Wilton’s character.” How? “Strategies include–Preserve Historic Resources; Preserve Wilton’s Scenic Roads and Scenic Views; Minimize light and Noise Pollution.”
The Age Restricted Overlay District (AROD) zone so expeditiously created last fall will encourage development on Ridgefield Rd., which is at odds with Wilton’s character, not in support of it.
It is not a road onto which high-density housing, with attendant increased traffic, noise and discordant scale should begin to creep. Ridgefield Rd. is not where spot zoning should be allowed.
Years ago, Wiltonians with vision and a sense of our town’s history helped protect areas of historic beauty and significance by creating Wilton’s Historic Districts. Our town has benefited by investing in open land purchases and conservation easements. Our community is enriched in so many ways by Ambler Farm. These are examples of the benefits of taking a long view of development. I would like to think that Wilton’s citizens will be open to the value of creating more local historic districts and protecting its historic properties. The inclusion of Ridgefield Rd. in the AROD is an example of short-sighted planning, and is in direct opposition to the stated goals of the Plan of Conservation and Development. The Historic District and Historic Properties Commission urges the Planning and Zoning Commission to remove Ridgefield Rd. from the AROD zone.
Allison Gray Sanders
Chair, Historic District and Historic Properties Commission