With temporarily-expanded outdoor dining a new reality of the COVID-19 era, thanks to an Executive Order from Gov. Lamont, Wilton’s Planning and Zoning Commission has been contemplating the addition of more permanent changes to the town’s land-use regulations, to allow Wilton restaurants to offer diners more options. The discussion is part of the current commission’s business-friendlier profile that shows a more open approach to supporting economic development in town.

Yet during the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on July 27, commissioners voted to table the current discussion on outdoor dining all the way until Dec. 1, 2020, although they did extend the public hearing to the next regular meeting on Sept. 14, 2020, so that anyone from the public can still offer opinions on the matter.

The commission elected to push out the discussion and public hearing for amendments to Regulation #20382, which would extend outdoor dining due to COVID-19 in Wilton Center, Design Retail Business, and General Business zones, because commissioners are unsure about the legality of the amendments. However, if Lamont removes the executive order before Dec. 1, the commission will hold a special meeting to discuss the amendments.

The Commission did approve a site development plan for the Citgo station at 386 Danbury Rd. to replace underground fuel storage tanks. The replacement is a routine procedure that must be done every 30 years to meet DEEP requirements. The five tanks currently in place will be replaced by five tanks of the same size, as well as new dispensers. Mark Smith, a civil engineer with CMG Environmental representing the applicant, said that the project is considered “routine maintenance.” The permit will be in effect for five years, until July 30, 2025. However, Smith said the work should be completed within four weeks of beginning the project. During the project, the station and convenience store will both be closed, Smith said.

The Commission also discussed a site development plan to extend the Norwalk River Valley Trail in two locations, from Kent Road and Wolfpit Road south and south of Kent Road by Chipmunk Road, with a six-space parking lot on Chipmunk Lane. While the commission agreed that the trail is an asset to the town, they deliberated about the renovations, as well as the proposed parking lot. Chairman Rick Tomasetti and Commissioner Christopher Pagliaro noted that nearby projects have been required to increase parking for the NRVT, while the organization proposes building small parking lots. They expressed concern for this contradiction, and Tomasetti asked that the NRVT add plantings and signage to the lot for visual appeal. Due to these concerns, the commission asked the applicant to draw up more detailed plans to present at the next meeting on Sept. 14, and voted to continue the discussion then.

The commission noted that an application for a daycare center may be received soon, due to its time-sensitive nature, a special meeting may be scheduled for Aug. 19 in order to accept and schedule the application.