To the Editor:
The Town of Wilton describes its character as follows:
The transformation from a small farming town to a suburban residential community of approximately 18,000 has been carefully controlled by zoning and through the preservation of the town’s older colonial landmarks.[bold emphasis added by letter writer].
The town has had the foresight to preserve almost 1,000 acres of open space for active and passive recreational use. Although there is limited land remaining for development, Wilton retains much of its open feeling and rural atmosphere. Winding back roads with trees, streams, ponds, woods, and rolling hills are all part of the Wilton’s beauty and charm and afford privacy as well as a pastoral setting.
There exists among both new residents and those with established roots a strong commitment and concern that Wilton, whatever its future, shall retain some part of its rural heritage.”
Thus, when we decided to purchase our home on Ridgefield Rd. almost 15 years, we did so with the impression that its scenic road designation implied that the town and residents as well as the State of Connecticut appreciated not only its bucolic beauty, but its historical significance and the charming historic homes gracing this beautiful road.
Over the years we have significantly invested in our antique home to maintain its character. Now we have come to learn through a little-publicized maneuver, which was not debated before the public, the town approved an Age Restricted Overlay District (AROD) opening Ridgefield Rd. to development of high density housing. Had AROD’s impact on Ridgefield Rd. been fully and clearly publicized there would have been significant objection to such a drastic zoning code change.
Given the 240th anniversary of the Battle of Ridgefield, and the historical significance of Ridgefield Rd., it is imperative that we preserve this beautiful and bucolic historic New England road. A precious and significant piece of history once lost cannot never be regained. The Town of Wilton itself recognized the importance of maintaining our heritage when it adopted Zoning Regulation 29-5.C.8 in an effort to facilitate the preservation of Historic/Architecturally significant buildings. Wilton’s Conservation Plan similarly states that its goal is to “contribute to Wilton’s character” and its strategies include “preserv[ing] Wilton’s Scenic Roads and Scenic Views”—Ridgefield Rd. is a state-designated scenic road. Was extending AROD to Ridgefield Rd. in harmony with these goals? As evident for the demolition of the Schlicting House, developers now are free to destroy more historic homes on Ridgefield Rd. as well as construct “incompatible new construction.”
A high density development will significantly increase the traffic on lower Ridgefield Rd. and the geography of the beautiful winding roads will lead to demands that the road be widened to ensure safety. This is in direct conflict of the conservation commission’s strategy to preserve Wilton’s Scenic Roads and Scenic Views.
By keeping Ridgefield Rd. in AROD, this beautiful road will end up a ruined landscape and its beauty, and history forever altered all for short term gain. This is a time to pause and consider the severe ramifications to a precious piece of Wilton’s history.
We invite all Wilton residents to attend the next Planning and Zoning meeting on Monday, May 8 at 7:15 p.m. in the Brubeck Room of Wilton Library and show their support for the removal of Ridgefield Rd. from AROD.
Donna and Andrew Harakas