At last night’s Planning & Zoning Commission meeting, the members began hearing a proposal asking for changes to current regulations regarding hotels. Casey Healy, a Gregory & Adams attorney representing the I-Park office complex in South Wilton, came before the commission with an application to amend zoning regulations for the Design Enterprise Districts, where the I-Park is located.
Within the regulations, Healy told the commissioners that his client wanted to amend regulations dealing with both the allowed height of buildings as well as whether or not a hotel would be permitted in Wilton.
“We are seeking to modify the maximum building height from three stories and 39 ft. to four stories and 55 ft.,” Healy told the commission. By making changes to the height restrictions of a building, Casey said developers would consider Wilton projects—something which first selectman Lynne Vanderslice talked about in GOOD Morning Wilton‘s recent interview with her.
According to Healy, the regulation outlining acceptable building heights 39 feet for three stories should be changed, because it is outdated. “It doesn’t meet today’s standards in terms of separation between floors. It’s closer to the 55 ft for four stories. The reason as to the 4th story, in looking at DE5 and 10 zones, it’s come up that there have been investigations or interest of possible buildings and a 4th story is a lot more attractive to developers tenants and owners,” he explained, adding that building a fourth story is more cost-effective to build.
Among some of the concern discussed in a P&Z staff report, the planning department had concerns about several things that they suggested the applicant change in order to make the application more likely to be considered. Most notably Bob Nerney, Wilton’s town planner, was concerned about the word motel in the application.
Healy told the commission last night that among the hotel operators with which I-Park has had discussions, none are motels, and all are full-service hotels. He told the commission he would remove the word ‘motel’ from any future application.
One other concern was regarding liquor permits. Nerney had inquired whether the hotel would qualify for one of the only two liquor permits allowed in Wilton—in restaurants or package stores. Nerney informed Healy and I-Park that there are 65 different types of regulated liquor permits, and that a hotel would likely have several ways to serve alcohol (bar/lounge, restaurant, room service, etc.). Healy told the commission his client will looking into what would be appropriate.
Because the planner working with I-Park was unavailable to answer questions, the commission decided to keep the public hearing on the application open. Discussion was continued to June 13, the date of P&Z’s next meeting.