At last Thursday evening’s (Dec. 13) Inland Wetlands Commission meeting, there were two items on the agenda with impact on all residents of Wilton: approval of the proposed Wilton Heights development at 300 Danbury Rd. and a request from the Wilton Land Conservation Trust for a letter of support for plans to purchase 183 Ridgefield Rd.. Although only four members of the Commission were present, they voted unanimously in favor of both projects.
The application for the 300 Danbury Rd. project had been in front of the commission for several meetings, having been introduced once in May, only to be withdrawn and reintroduced in August. After several continued public hearings and significant debate–sometimes contentious–between the applicant’s representatives and commission members, the plans were modified enough to receive unanimous approval.
Among the adjustments made by the applicant, Wilton Heights LLC, were the addition of several plantings and changes to the building perimeter that would allow four mature trees to remain untouched. Kate Throckmorton, the landscape consultant on the project, had told the commission at a previous meeting that her plans for the site have added an additional 50 trees, 350 shrubs and 800 perennials.
As for 183 Ridgefield Rd., the Wilton Land Conservation Trust was requesting support from the Inland Wetlands Commission for the Trust’s proposed purchase of the site. The 13-acre parcel was once the location of the historic Schlichting estate before becoming the proposed site of a controversial real estate development. Now, the Land Trust has launched a town-wide fundraising campaign to help it secure the property as open space for the public to be able to access in perpetuity.
In May of this year, the Land Trust announced it had placed the parcel under contract and began raising the $2.3 million it needed to purchase the property. As part of the purchase deal, the Land Trust only has until December 2019 to raise the funds necessary to secure it. So far they’ve secured $1 million in pledges promised to the campaign, with a lead pledge of $750,000 from the Bauer family of Wilton, and the board of the Land Trust and other residents pledging the remainder.
The letter sought by the Land Trust would be in support of a grant application the Trust is making to the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), as part of the DEEP Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program.