P&Z: Approvals, Public Hearings, and a New Location for Wilton’s Farmer’s Market

The Wilton Farmers' Market returns on June 3, 2020

During the Feb. 28 meeting, the Planning & Zoning Commission greenlit four local projects and voted to move two upcoming regulation issues to public hearing.

Moving Projects Forward

The evening began with a presentation by Kevin O’Brien of O’Brien Premier Properties on 37 Danbury Rd. Previously used as a sports facility, the property’s owner and future tenant applied for a special permit to allow warehouse use on the site.

Prospective tenant Edmond Warchick, owner of All in One Construction Group, explained that the facility would be seeking to become the first National Roofing Contractors Association-authorized training facility in the country.

“The only thing being produced on the site is new roofers,” Warchick reassured the Commission, adding that he was, “happy to be at this property in Wilton.”

However, further questioning by P&Z Vice Chair Melissa-Jean Rotini revealed that a certain amount of manufacturing, even as practice for the trainees, may be taking place on the site. She flagged a possible waste management issue related to dumpster regulations and the nature of discarded roofing materials.

The Commission also spoke at length about an overhead door the applicant sought to add to the space. Leland Wilson, owner of the property, assured the Commissioners that the inclusion of the overheard door was not meant to imply that the space would be used as a loading dock.

“It’s not going to be a loading dock,” Wilson assured to the Commission. “It’s not suited to that.” He cited nearby accessible access ramps and a tree bed that would complicate a loading or unloading use and insisted that the door would only be raised to let light and air into the building.

“If you’re putting in a door and it’s an overhead door, it’s a loading zone,” P&Z Chair Rick Tomasetti said. “Don’t tell me you’re not going to bring materials in and out that way, sure you are.”

The Commission voted unanimously to approve the special permit with an alteration to indicate that the overhead doorway is not to be used for loading or unloading.

The Commission also voted to approve special permits allowing the Riverbrook YMCA to disregard rooftop screen requirements, Millstone Properties to create four new horse stalls within an existing indoor barn, and Sharp Hill Square to install its updated package of new signage.

State Regulations

The Commissioners briefly discussed their initial thoughts on two new state regulations — one concerning Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and one on future parking requirements — that Wilton must decide on in the coming months. At the previous meeting, Director of Planning & Land Use Management/Town Planner Michael Wrinn had presented a PowerPoint outlining the differences between existing Wilton town regulations compared with the Connecticut state requirements.

One key difference between state and town regulations concerns the size of allowable ADUs. According to Wrinn, the new state regulations allow ADUs up to a maximum of 30% of the main building or 1,000 square feet, whichever is less; however, Wilton’s regulations allow ADUs up to 25% of the main building or 750 square feet, whichever is more. Therefore, adopting state regulations would restrict properties with more than 3,000 square feet in the main building to a smaller ADU than what Wilton regulations currently allow.

In order to opt out, P&Z would have to pass a resolution with at least a two-thirds vote, which would then be followed by a vote at the Board of Selectmen.

After a brief discussion, the Commission agreed to host two public hearings with local Wilton residents interested in weighing in on the decisions at hand regarding these regulations. Wrinn assured the Commission that he would find appropriate dates for hearings on both parking and ADU size.

New Applications Introduced

The Commission also accepted applications for two new projects during the meeting: the move of Bone and Bark doggy daycare and animal foster operation to 15 Cannon Rd. (the former ABC House), and the relocation of the Wilton Farmer’s Market to the town green.

On the latter, the Wilton Chamber of Commerce itself applied for the special permit, which would allow the Farmer’s Market to operate as an open-air market within Wilton Center, rather than at its current location at the Wilton Historical Society. According to the documents submitted, Chamber executive director Camille Carriero believes that relocating the market to the Town Green on Old Ridgefield Rd. will help “promote surrounding businesses in Wilton Center” as well as increase attendance at the market. It will also help “promote the amenities” in town.

Looking Ahead

  • Thursday, Mar. 3: As part of the Master Plan project currently underway, BFJ Planning will conduct an additional site visit to Wilton Center with the team’s landscape architect and the Inland Wetlands Commission.
  • Thursday, Mar. 10: BFJ and the Master Plan subcommittee will convene with the Architectural Review Board/Village District Design Advisory Commission for a joint meeting.
  • Thursday, Mar. 31: a public workshop will be held to present and receive feedback on the Master Plan project so far.
  • Monday, Feb. 28: The next regular meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission