Tracy Becker (lower right) of SignPro USA attended the Economic Development Commission's April 19 meeting. Credit: Town of Wilton Zoom recording, April 19, 2023

Wilton’s Economic Development Commission (EDC) continued its work Wednesday evening (April 19) to help the Town improve signage regulations for Wilton businesses. 

Last December, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice asked the EDC to develop a set of recommendations for the Planning and Zoning Commission to consider when P&Z updates the signage regulations.

Two subcommittees were established to tackle the EDC’s task on different fronts: one to review current regulations and another to obtain input from Wilton business owners via a survey.

More recently, the EDC learned from Director of Planning and Land Use Management/Town Planner Michael Wrinn that most sign permit applications — roughly 70% — come from sign manufacturers and not the individual merchants. For that reason, the EDC decided to seek insights from sign companies that might impact the commission’s recommendations.

At Wrinn’s recommendation, the EDC invited representatives from two major sign manufacturers to attend its April 19 meeting.

Commissioner Marty Avallone explained what the commission hoped to learn.

“We asked them to give us their input on how Wilton compared to similar towns from a permitting process. Are there types of signs we should be considering? What are they hearing from their clients that [Wilton is] unable to do or points of dissatisfaction… how the process goes and what we might be able to do to improve it,” Avallone said.

One Sign Pro Weighs In

Tracy Becker attended the meeting to respond to the EDC’s questions. Becker represents SignPro USA, a major sign manufacturer with a 40,000-sq.ft. facility in Southington, serving Connecticut and other northeast locations. (The EDC also invited Larry Bourque of ABC Sign Corp. who did not attend.)

Becker recounted her experiences with sign permits in Wilton from two recently completed SignPro projects:

  • Hartford Healthcare at 50-60 Danbury Rd.
  • M&T Bank at 31 Danbury Rd.

The Hartford Healthcare signage was a particularly contentious process. (GOOD Morning Wilton reported extensively on multiple P&Z meetings where the signage application was discussed, beginning in May 2021.)

“[Wilton] P&Z was very aware the signage regulations needed to be updated,” Becker said, politely alluding to heated arguments among Wilton’s P&Z commissioners as “internal discussions.”

Ideally, Becker told the EDC, businesses would like to see:

  • a clear and concise permitting process with specified allowances
  • online permitting
  • administrative approvals (without additional reviews by an architectural review board or other advisory committee)

Becker recommended the commissioners examine Old Saybrook‘s recently completed efforts to revamp its signage regulations — not because the Town loosened regulations, but because they added clarity.

“They actually made things more strict, but it’s all very clearly laid out as to what you’re allowed,” Becker said.

The EDC’s next meeting is scheduled for Wed., May 10, at 7:15 p.m. in Comstock Room 31 and via Zoom (a link can be found on the meeting agenda posted on the Town website.)

One reply on “Sign Company Urges “Clear and Concise” Updates to Wilton’s Signage Regulations”

  1. Art/design of signage is in both regulations and “eye of the beholder.” But the street address— particularly the building NUMBER— needs to be easily in the eyes of drivers moving at 35 miles per hour.

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