Tour the Property Proposed for $2.2M Town Conservation

The Conservation Commission and Wilton Land Conservation Trust will be holding two open houses for the public at the Keiser Property in the coming weeks; the first will be this Saturday, Oct. 19, and again on Saturday, Nov. 2, both from 9 a.m. – 12 noon, rain or shine.  The property is located on Seeley Rd., at the intersection with Cannon Rd.  Parking is permitted on Seeley Rd., and guides will be found by the barn.

The open house tours are meant to allow residents of town to see the property in advance of the town vote at a Special Town Meeting on November 19.  Guides will be on hand to lead small groups around the 39 acre parcel. According to a release from the Patricia Sesto, director of environmental affairs for Wilton, “Participants will be able to see the many assets of the property that led to the town and Land Trust’s effort to protect the property, including spectacular views of meadows, stonewalls, the Norwalk River, and the vista across the river valley.”

At a selectmen’s meeting last month, Sesto said “The goal of preserving the last remaining piece of large undeveloped property in the town of Wilton has been pursued for many years by the town and by the Wilton Land Trust. The property is the loveliest. When we think of the rural quality of our town, the Keiser property really is that.”

The property is proposed for protection with the purchase of a conservation easement on 39 acres. The cost of the easement is $2.5 million, with the Land Trust providing $300,000 and the town asking residents to approve spending $2.2 million. A vote will be taken at the Special Town Meeting on November 19, at 7:30 p.m. in the Clune Center. 

At a Board of Selectmen meeting on Sept. 3, Sesto explained that by purchasing the easement rights, “We’re essentially buying the development rights. You can’t do anything except those activities which are consistent with conservation practices.” The easement also reserves rights for some limited agriculture or trails. “There is no development, there is no building, or subdividing the land. There is no ability to subdivide except the four acres residential area,” Sesto explained, referring to the only two parcels held aside by the Keiser family for residential sale and development.

Several benefits  have been mentioned in pursuing this land’s conservation, including maintaining the curb appeal and cultural appeal of Wilton and the immediate surrounding Cannondale area. Officials also mention the ecological importance and benefit to wildlife in the area. Norwalk river access will be maintained as part of the deal for the public, including anglers. As well, this property has long been on a town priority list of desireable properties eyed for preservation.

At the early-September selectmen meeting, Sesto pointed out that when the town first came to an agreement on the property 10 years ago, the original plan was valued at $4.5 million. “We were prepared back then to put this before the town. We’re in a good position to try.”

Please contact Patricia Sesto at 203-563-0180 or patricia.sesto@wiltonct.org for further information on the open house tours or the property itself.