At only 90 minutes long, the Monday, March 27 meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission was an unusually short gathering for the group, whose sessions frequently extend into the late hours of the night. Still, the commissioners managed to hold a public hearing on a new parking lot development, review an alternative signage plan, and hear updates from Town Planner Michael Wrinn on a wide range of agenda items coming down the pike for the Commission, concerning everything from communications infrastructure to pickleball.
Vice Chair Melissa-Jean Rotini chaired the meeting in Rick Tomasetti’s absence.
New Parking Lot Along Danbury Rd. Wins Easy Approval
The first project of the evening was a proposal by the Grossman Companies to convert two neighboring parcels into a parking lot serving 372 Danbury Rd. and merge the three parcels into a single site. A portion of the office building at 372 Danbury Rd. will soon be converted into medical offices and Wilton’s zoning regulations require buildings with multiple uses to provide additional parking spaces. The application also proposed creating a green space buffer between the parking lot and the Norwalk River to help with stormwater management. The two parcels are currently home to buildings that formerly housed Taylor Rental and Wilton Auto Park.
“It’s kind of a commentary that it’s a blessing to lose buildings in town to get a parking lot,” said Commissioner Chris Pagliaro. “It shows you what that strip of buildings is like.”
After discussions about site drainage, parking flow, and pedestrian traffic, the Commission opened the public hearing on the project, but no speakers came forward. The Commission then voted unanimously to approve the application, with the addition of a one-way traffic flow restriction and stop sign within the parking lot, pending approval by the fire marshal and soil analysis group working on the project.
The Inland Wetlands Commission and the Architectural Review Board had previously recorded their approval as well.
Updated Signs Coming to Wilton Wellness Center
Another Danbury Rd. medical office was the subject of the evening’s next application. Nuvance Health sought to make changes to the existing alternative signage plan for its Wilton Wellness Center at 249 Danbury Rd. The signage includes logos, a topic of some debate last year, but in this application the logos appear on standing signage, not on the façade of the building.
The Commission voted unanimously to approve the application.
Updates from Town Planner
Before the evening concluded, Wrinn updated the Commission on a series of significant projects that are moving forward, but not quite ready for P&Z review yet:
- The Verizon Cell Tower proposed for the school bus depot property at 130 School Rd. is working its way through a four- to six-month process at the Connecticut Siting Council, after which point it will come back to the town for review.
- The Department of Public Works (DPW) is preparing drainage guidance for P&Z to help inform the Commission’s effort to reform the town’s site coverage rules. Wrinn expects that guidance to be ready in two weeks.
- The Planning & Zoning staff are preparing a memo outlining a series of questions and regulatory options for codifying Wilton’s outdoor dining regulations. Decisions such as whether outdoor dining should be restricted to certain seasons and whether tented structures should be allowed will need to be considered. Wrinn said that the analysis will be ready in time for Commission’s next meeting on Monday, Apr. 10, and that the members can anticipate a public hearing on the topic at the end of that month.
- Two projects previously presented to P&Z — A Kids Place’s application for a childcare facility at 436 Danbury Rd. and the Wilton Land Conservation Trust’s application for a nature center at 183 Ridgefield Rd. — are currently awaiting review by the Architectural Review Board (ARB). The Board is not currently scheduled to meet until Thursday, Apr. 13 due to the Easter holiday, but Wrinn noted that the ARB members are trying to reschedule that meeting to an earlier date.
- The traffic plan submitted as part of Wilton Center Lofts’ 8-30g application for an affordable housing complex at 12 Godfrey Pl. is awaiting peer review, as requested by the Commission. Wrinn said that the request for qualifications has been released and responses are due on Friday of this week.
- The hotel proposed at the iPark site along the border of Norwalk and Wilton is under peer review as well, and DPW has shared its drainage calculations with the Town of Norwalk for their consideration.
- The Lake Club’s application to offer pickleball at its tennis court facility will soon be ready for the Commission’s consideration. Wrinn said that the primary concern is likely to be noise.
- Finally, ASML is consolidating a series of zoning applications related to its campus at 77 Danbury Rd. They will bring these matters to P&Z in a single pre-application hearing later this spring.
The next regular meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission is scheduled for Monday, April 10. Tonight — Wednesday, Mar. 29 — at 5 p.m., the Greater Wilton Center Area Master Plan subcommittee will hold a special session with executives from Kimco about the form-based zoning regulations planned for the area and the company’s redevelopment plans for its 21 River Rd. property.