The Planning & Zoning Commission has scheduled two special meetings to conduct some outstanding business, and they’ll likely gather some interest from the voting public.

Today, Friday, June 2, the commissioners will meet to interview two potential candidates to fill the one vacant seat on the P&Z commission; then, next Monday, June 5, the P&Z will meet to begin interviewing prospective consultants who have applied to work with the town on updating and revising the Plan of Conservation and Development.

P&Z Commission Vacancy

Since commissioner Franklin Wong resigned, effective May 15, there is one open seat on the commission. Under minority representation rules, the maximum number of seats one party can hold on this nine-member commission is six. As of now there are six Republicans (chair Joe Fiteni, vice chair Scott Lawrence, Peter Shiue, Sally Poundstone, Andrea Preston and Rick Tomasetti) on the commission, so the seat can only be filled by either a Democrat or an unaffiliated resident.

The commission is responsible for finding and selecting a candidate to fill the seat, and it has 30 days to do so. On Friday afternoon, they will be interviewing the two Wilton residents whose names have been placed in contention:  Brian Lilly, who has been nominated by the Democratic Town Committee (DTC) and Melissa Rotini, who submitted her own name for nomination.

Lilly is scheduled to be interviewed today at 2 p.m., and Rotini will be interviewed at 2:45 p.m. in the P&Z commission’s usual meeting room in Town Hall’s Annex. The meeting is open to the public to attend.

The commission has a regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, June 12, when it will likely discuss and vote on which candidate to choose to fill the vacant seat. If they do not do so in the 30 days following Wong’s resignation, the responsibility to appoint a replacement falls to the Board of Selectmen.

Lilly is president of Litigation Support Partners, which provides trial case management and coordination services to the legal profession; he currently serves on Wilton’s Zoning Board of Appeals; Rotini is a municipal lawyer in the Westchester County Attorney’s office.

GMW reached out to both potential candidates about why they want to be appointed to fill the P&Z seat; only Lilly responded by press time. He says:

“I’ve been on Zoning Board of Appeals since 2011, and it’s the next logical step. My family moved to Wilton in 1973, they still live in the same house, all six of their kids graduated from Wilton High School. We’ve been here a long time. We know this town, we know where it’s been, how it’s grown–some good, some not so good. I just feel that I have legal background and knowledge of the town that I can help formulate where this town goes in the future.”

Planning Ahead on Plan of Conservation and Development

Each CT town is required by the state to update its Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) once every 10 years. The POCD is a written document that is used to guide the town on land use questions–for example, the current POCD has been referred to frequently during the debate over whether or not higher-density development should be allowed on Ridgefield Rd.. The document is created through a process of gathering input from all town residents and is meant to reflect the consensus of the town’s population on issues of conservation and development. Wilton’s last POCD was created in 2010.

The process to draft a new POCD will likely take around 18 months. Wilton officials have decided to begin the process a year early, and there’s been a good deal of discussion about the effort already by members of the Board of Selectmen and the Economic Development Commission. First selectman Lynne Vanderslice explained her rationale during budget discussions earlier this year:

“We’d like to start this summer if we can. It makes a lot of sense for a couple reasons:  one, there are a lot of developers coming to my door, and we’d like to have that community conversation about what do we want to do. The other thing is we have a moratorium on affordable housing and we were awarded that at the end of 2015. That’s a 4-year moratorium. The concept behind that is we take that four years and address what areas is it appropriate for. We’re a year-plus into that. Part of the POCD you address that also.”

The task of overseeing the process, however, falls to P&Z. The town has started to solicit proposals from planning consultants and at a special meeting scheduled for next Monday, June 5, 12-4 p.m., the P&Z commission will begin interviewing several who have applied to guide Wilton through the process. The three companies being interviewed are:  BFJ Planning, Inc. (12 p.m.); Milone & MacBroom, Inc. (1:15 p.m.); and Planimetrics, Inc. (2:30 p.m.).

The meeting is open to the public.