A proposed senior living development at Pimpewaug Rd. and Route 7/Danbury Rd. is in the works, and part of the plans include the purchase of a small, .209 acre sliver of town-owned land. But in order for the purchase to move forward, town officials and the developer first have to hear what town residents think of the idea.

The Board of Selectmen will hold a public hearing during its regularly scheduled meeting this Monday evening, April 15, for town residents to give their feedback on the proposed sale of the .209 acres of town right of way on the corner of Pimpewaug Rd. and Rte. 7. 

Brightview Senior Living has proposed developing a 165 bed senior living community on 6.91 acres of the two adjoining parcels at 2 and 24 Pimpewaug Rd.; the small, town-owned land sliver would provide the developers with frontage on Rte. 7. Brightview is already under contract to purchase the privately-owned Pimpewaug Rd. properties.

Steve Marker, Brightview’s development associate for the project, spoke at the Nov. 19, 2018 meeting of the BOS, and submitted an initial offer for $75,000 to the town for the land (shown in green, below). The offer was made after Brightview sought an appraisal.

At the last BOS meeting on April 1, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice explained that the town subsequently obtained its own appraisal from Cushman and Wakefield, valuing the land at $205,000. Vanderslice said that Real Estate Committee member Tom McDevitt, town counsel Ira Bloom and she negotiated much better terms with Brightview as a result.

According to a memo Vanderslice prepared for the selectmen, the terms of the purchase they have secured and seek town feedback on include:

  1. $312,000 paid at the time of purchase
  2. $10,000 per year with a CPI escalator for 20 years, secured by the property
  3. “Deed restrictions and conditions requiring that the property be developed solely by Brightview as proposed, with non-transferrable development rights, subject to an assignment clause. If that requirement is violated, title to the property would revert back to the Town. Transfer of the property is conditioned upon Brightview obtaining all necessary approvals and permits for the proposed facility.
  4. Installation of a street lamp at the Rte. 7/Pimpewaug Road intersection. According to Vanderslice’s memo, “This lamp would be necessary due to the increase in traffic resulting from the development to an already problematic intersection,” and one at which the CT Department of Transportation has historically denied requests to install a traffic signal.

A fifth requirement involves the preservation of an historic building on the 2 Pimpewaug Rd. parcel, which was once owned by the Gregory family, one of Wilton’s founding families. The house on the lot had been a Gregory family residence. In November, Marker told officials that Brightview had discussed the project with the Wilton Historical Society, and the company’s plans include preserving and restoring the building.

“We intend to preserve the home and, working with the historical society, to create an exhibit that talks about the family and the history and their impact on the town,” he explained at the time, noting that the building would likely be used for programming for residents of Brightview as well as offered to community non-profits as a place to hold meetings. “We want to build a relationship with the Historical Society to help develop an exhibit that is sensitive to the history of Wilton.”

At the November meeting, the first selectwoman called that potentially a “big win for the property,” noting that this was a case where a developer was “eager” to save the house before even going through the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) approval process.

In her recent memo to the BOS members, Vanderslice wrote, “This proposal has the additional benefit of preserving an important historical home, which might otherwise not survive with a different purchaser.”

As a final condition of sale of the town right of way, a 30-Year Restrictive Covenant for Historic Preservation would be recorded on land records ensuring the preservation of the historic structure.

Vanderslice expressed her support of the development, noting that there is market demand for additional senior living options, both for current senior residents who want to remain in Wilton as well as for younger residents who want to have their parents relocate to Wilton. She has said that one element distinguishing this project from other similar senior living developments is that it is a rental property, rather than condo.

Of the total number of units offered, Marker said there would “probably” be 90 units of independent living, 50 for assisted living residents and 25 for memory care. The facility would offer studio, one and two bedroom units and monthly pricing would range from $4,000/month for independent living, to $5-6,000/month for assisted living, to $8-9,000/month for memory care, incorporating meals, housekeeping, programs, and transportation, and–depending on needs–additional levels of care, like bathing, dressing, and medications.

In addition, the project would add to Wilton’s stock of affordable housing options. Brightview has proposed that approximately 10% of the 165 or so units would be classified as affordable living; 5% would be offered to people living at or below 80% AMI (area median income) or state median income, and 5% would be offered to people living at 60% AMI or state median, whichever is lower.

Vanderslice also added that the project would contribute “hundreds of thousands [of dollars] in annual tax revenues,” and “removes a developable property, which in the future might have been developed in a manner not consistent with our zoning regulations.”

The public hearing is scheduled as part of the BOS meeting next Monday, April 15 at 8 p.m., in Town Hall Room B (238 Danbury Rd.).

*Disclosure:  A GMW editor is the owner of a neighboring property.