According to results of a survey on housing in Wilton, it seems the town is split on a whether people want more rental apartments in Wilton, and where they should go. The survey, part of the town’s effort to update the Plan of Conservation and Development, was conducted in the first two weeks of March, and results were released recently on the POCD website.

There were 268 responses submitted to the online survey, and the majority of respondents were residents or owned a home in Wilton.

Yay or Nay to more apartments? Smaller homes?

Respondents were split over whether Wilton should encourage more rental housing. One to two bedroom units were more well liked than three-plus bedroom units.

A majority of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that Wilton should encourage more smaller single-family homes (less than 2,500 square feet).

Smaller-single family homes more accepted by the respondents than rental housing. Chalk that up to the strong sense of community in town rather than a short-term frame of mind.

Smaller homes are in more demand since the 2008 housing decline. Nationwide the trend is smaller with more high-end finishes, less maintenance and closer to amenities. We are seeing this in Wilton real estate as well, as people are looking for updated homes closer to town center, transportation, and with less property.

Millennials entering the picture echo this sentiment. They typically have less money earmarked for housing for various reasons such as college loans, the desire to travel and job situations.

On the other hand, tiny homes (less than 400 square feet) were not strongly supported by survey respondents. But—seriously, folks—a tiny house like those featured on HGTV just are not realistic for the majority of Wilton’s population who have children under the age of 18 living at home (although there may have been times you wish your teens had their own tiny home out back).

Wilton’s respondents overwhelmingly agreed that the town should try to attract more young professionals.

Almost half of the survey respondents (45%) do not support the development of additional assisted living units. Another 30% are neutral.

What’s considered to be affordable housing?

Per month, $2,200 is considered affordable for a family of four making 80% of the area median income (approximately $88,500 per year). About 60% of respondents agree that Wilton should encourage the development of housing options that are affordable to that client.

Does anyone else see the disconnect here? Things get tough here as there are few options at that $2,200 mark. A $400,000 home with taxes of $7,000 a year (and a 20% downpayment) gets you in the ballpark of $2,200/month. There are very, very few homes or condos in that price range.

Renting in that price range is just as difficult. As to the effect of more apartments in town and persons using town facilities and schools, one can only speculate what would happen to the mill rate.

Where would you like to see more residential building?

The report shows strong support for more residential development in Wilton Center, close to walkable amenities. There is
general support for more residential development along Route 7, although support decreases north of Cannondale.

This is how respondents reacted to the following questions:

With regard to a 30-60 unit apartment building, where would you put it, and why?

  • Wilton Center (75 respondents)
  • Route 7 (67 respondents)
  • North Wilton/Georgetown (10 respondents)
  • Cannondale (8 respondents)
  • South Wilton (6 respondents).

This makes sense, as apartments would access the town’s water supply and sewers.

With regard to a higher-density, single-family, detached home project (lots less than 1 acre), where would you put it?

  • Route 7 (61 respondents)
  • Wilton center (47 respondents)
  • Cannondale (12 respondents)
  • North Wilton/Georgetown (12 respondents)
  • South Wilton (9 respondents)

This certainly fits demand for smaller houses close to amenities.

About the survey

The Plan of Conservation and Development is updated every 10 years. This latest version of the plan will carry Wilton through the year 2029.

These survey results were presented March 15 at Wilton Library by Milone & MacBroom, the consultant working on the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development.

Full survey results are available online.

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Lisa Bender is a realtor with the Wilton office of William Raveis and a regular contributor to GOOD Morning Wilton. She writes about the Wilton real estate market. She can be reached at 203.246.6986 or via email.