We’re trying something new–a compilation of noteworthy news from Town Hall and Wilton’s municipal Boards and Commissions. These items may be fast updates, or mentions that don’t necessarily require in-depth analysis or detailed accounting but Wilton residents should know what’s happening nonetheless.

Inland Wetlands Commission–July 12, 2018

During its second public hearing to consider the Wilton Heights development that has been proposed for 300 Danbury Rd./Rte. 7 (at the intersection with Ridgefield Rd./Rte. 33), the Inland Wetlands Commission decided that it wanted to get a third-party engineering review of the application, beyond having town environmental staff review the project. Such a third-party review would be required to be conducted at the expense of the applicant.

Casey Healy, the applicant’s attorney, pointed out that his client has already paid a $16,000 filing fee for just the Inland Wetlands application alone (separate from fees that accompanied at least three other applications that have been made in front of the Planning & Zoning Commission). He suggested that perhaps any additional costs for this review could come out of the fee his client had already paid, since that $16,000 is supposed to cover costs involved when town staff review an application. The applicant, developer Paxton Kinol, pointed out that with a third party review, he would have to also hire his own engineering expert to review and answer any report made by the third-party engineer, and that his costs keep mounting.

Environmental affairs director Mike Conklin said he’d see if first selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice could authorize a contract for a third-party review; the Board of Selectmen was due to discuss it at their Monday night, July 23, meeting. [Update:  A motion was made and passed at Monday night’s meeting to allow Vanderslice to execute contracts for Inland Wetland third party reviews for which the applicant is paying for the cost of the review. Vanderslice told the BOS members that the applicant will provide the Town with the cost of the review before any contact is executed, therefore budgeted funds are not used for these reviews. Town Counsel will also review all contracts before they are executed. This is intended to prevent any delays in Inland Wetland Commission moving forward on applications.]

Neighbors who, at past meetings have spoken out against the proposed development, spoke up at this meeting as well, to support having an independent, third party review. “The hard look is required to avoid that appearance of being arbitrary and capricious in your decisions,” said Anthony Boccanfuso, a resident of the Crown Pond residential development to the southeast of the 300 Danbury Rd. parcel. Another Crown Pond resident, Valerie Pettit, agreed:  “I want to commend the idea of an objecting third party review of a very intense and large development and a massive change to the topography of this area. My chief concerns along the intensity of this development are focused not the air, water, heat, noise and light pollution generated by intense use of retail…as well as the loss of habitat, tree canopy, all of which contribute to protection of wetlands.

Police Commission Regular Meeting–July 16, 2018

Based on monthly reports from the Wilton Police Department, the Police Commission took note of a declining number of motor vehicle stops. Chief John Lynch told the commissioners that field training activities, as well as increased focus on processing car burglaries and identity theft leaves less available time on the road for officers. Lynch called the number of car burglaries “significant” and said residents leaving valuables and keys in unlocked vehicles makes such burglaries “easier to accomplish.” (from minutes not yet approved by the commission)

Planning & Zoning Commission Special Meeting–July 19, 2018

During open session, the Planning & Zoning commissioners interviewed eight candidates as potential members of the Village District Consultant Committee, and after briefly moving to executive session to discuss the candidates, the commissioners returned to open session to name six candidates to the VDCC:  John Doyle, Laura Noble Perese, Sam Gardner, Megan Abrahamsen, Kevin Quinlan and Rob Sanders.

This committee has been previously comprised of three members; it currently functions only in an advisory capacity and does not have legislative or directive power. While P&Z discussed renaming it (Architectural Review Board, Village District Design Advisory Committee), no change has been made as of yet.

Later this week we’ll have updates on the Board of Selectmen and Planning & Zoning Meetings held Monday, July 23.

Upcoming meetings this week:

Wednesday, July 25 at 7:30 p.m.:  Fire Station #2 Building Committee, Comstock Community Center
Thursday, July 26 at 6:30 p.m.:  Inland Wetlands Commission Site Walk of ASML
Thursday, July 26 at 7:30 p.m.:  Inland Wetlands Commission regular meeting, Town Hall Annex Room A