Wilton’s Economic Development Commission (EDC) is making final preparations to launch a survey designed to understand residents’ opinions about commercial signage in Wilton.

The resident survey follows a survey of business owners which the EDC completed in June to understand their experiences with Town regulations and the sign permit process.

The commissioners will use the survey results, along with their review of Wilton’s current signage regulations, to develop a set of recommendations for the Planning and Zoning Commission to consider in updating the Town’s regulations.

September Launch

Commissioners finalized the questionnaire at the Sept. 13 EDC meeting and expect to launch the survey online later this month. It will remain open for responses for about two weeks.

Question areas will focus on residents’ perceptions of local signs in terms of their effectiveness and attractiveness.

It was unclear from the discussion how the EDC plans to promote the survey and invite residents to participate. In the past, similar surveys have been posted on the Town website.

Recommendations Emerge After Business Owner Survey Finds Current Regulations “Don’t Meet Their Needs”

The EDC has begun drafting recommendations for P&Z based on the business owner survey. While the commissioners continue to mull the implications for how the Town would implement specific measures, they agree on one fundamental finding, as stated in a working draft document posted on the Town website:

“Many business respondents noted that signage was extremely important for both advertising and visibility of their locations and that current regulations did not meet their needs.”

Commissioners have identified at least two key areas that they believe warrant attention from P&Z when regulations are updated:

  • Obscured” businesses that lack visibility to pedestrians and drivers: The EDC has concluded that these businesses — including many that are in Wilton Center but not facing the street — face the greatest challenges with current regulations. The EDC would like to see greater discretion for allowing supplemental signage opportunities for such businesses, particularly for temporary A-frame signage.
  • Permit process improvements: The EDC is recommending a more streamlined and transparent process for obtaining signage permits, along with more consistent enforcement for violations.

In addition, the EDC will likely recommend enhancements to the Town website with resources for business owners, including an illustrative guidebook to help them understand various sign types and the regulations by zone.

Directional Signage For Wilton Center

Commissioners briefly discussed an email received from Wilton Community Affairs Director Sarah Gioffre about an effort by town officials to add signage on Route 7 directing drivers to Wilton Center. (GOOD Morning Wilton obtained a copy of the email after the meeting.)

Gioffre indicated she had been working with Wilton’s Department of Public Works (DPW) and Village District Design Committee to develop a signage proposal to be submitted to the state, which has strict rules for signs on state-owned roads.

Commissioners were generally in agreement that additional signage is desirable. According to draft documents shared by Gioffre, two directional signs would be proposed along Danbury Rd. near the intersection of Ridgefield Rd. and four more near the intersection of Wolfpit Rd.

The EDC is scheduled to meet again on Wednesday, Oct. 11, at 7:15 p.m. However, the commissioners discussed the possibility of re-scheduling the meeting until Oct. 25 to allow time for commissioners to review the resident survey results before the meeting. Look for updates on the Town meeting calendar. Residents may attend in person at Comstock Community Center, Room 31, or remotely via Zoom. A Zoom link will be included on the meeting agenda posted on the Town website.

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