Three Projects on P&Z’s Agenda but Only One Moves Forward

With one major project continued to next month and another withdrawn by the applicant, Monday’s meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission ended on the early side, coming to a close after just 30 minutes.

At the request of the applicant, ASML’s package of applications to allow for the construction of a new employee driveway at its 77 Danbury Rd. site was continued to Monday, Aug. 8. For more information on the proposal, see GOOD Morning Wilton’s prior coverage of the June 27 meeting of P&Z and the June 9 meeting of the Architectural Review Board (ARB).

183 Ridgefield Rd. — Land Trust Withdraws Application to Regroup and Reapply

On Tuesday, July 19, Wilton’s Planning and Zoning Department staff received an email from Rob Sanders, applicant and authorized agent for the Wilton Land Conservation Trust, withdrawing the group’s application for its 183 Ridgefield Rd. property.

The Trust had applied for a special permit to use a historic barn on the site as an educational center but was hampered by technical challenges, concerns about Sanders presenting the project given his role as chair of Wilton’s Architecture Review Board, and Trust officials’ misunderstandings about the review process.

Asked by GMW whether the withdrawal came as a surprise, Town Planner Michael Wrinn explained, “It just came down to timing — statutorily, we only have so many days to act on an application. We would have had to close the public hearing on Aug. 8, which meant we would have needed their materials in this week.”

On April 20, the project team received an 18-item preliminary review sheet from the Planning & Zoning staff identifying elements of the application that required further detail. Several of the issues were still unresolved when the application began its hearing process in May.  Over the course of three subsequent meetings, P&Z commissioners raised additional concerns about the need for traffic and drainage reports for the site, the lack of clarity about site usage and hours, and access for school buses and emergency vehicles, among other topics.

Despite the difficulties, the Trust is expected to resubmit a more complete application that retains the vision, scope, and overall aims of the site as an educational center. The project will likely reappear in front of P&Z later this fall.

“Stay tuned,” Chair Rick Tomasetti said during Monday’s meeting.

50 Danbury Rd. — One Application Sails Through

One project did make it to a public hearing and through a series of votes Monday evening. The application by Hartford Healthcare Corp. to convert 21,000 square feet of office space at 50 Danbury Rd. into medical offices was approved unanimously. The Commission also voted to waive traffic and drainage report requirements following a presentation by engineer Craig Yannes of Tighe and Bond.

Tomasetti called the application, a “good use of the site,” noting that it will facilitate the conversion of hard-to-lease Class A office space into more desirable medical office use.

Looking Ahead

Wrinn also previewed three applications that are expected to come to P&Z in the coming weeks:

  • 331 Danbury Rd.: a pre-application hearing for a project that would bring 126 luxury residential units to the former site of Regency Limo, located along the Norwalk River near Pimpewaug Rd.
  • 523-529 Danbury Rd.: an adaptive reuse project that would convert the former Girl Scouts of America building and an adjacent 1820 federal-style structure into nine residential units
  • 241 Danbury Rd.: a proposal for a new Mormon meeting house to be built at the long-vacant lot across from Town Hall.

Both 532-529 Danbury Rd. and 241 Danbury Rd. are currently under review by the ARB, which expects to issue recommendations to P&Z following a special meeting scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 4.

The next meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 8.