AROD hearings go back to back tonight

UPDATE:  Nov. 13, 2 p.m. — The Planning and Zoning Commission hearing on 183 Ridgefield Road LLC’s application to establish age-restricted housing regulations has been tabled until Nov. 27. The hearing on the requested moratorium will proceed as scheduled.

Nov. 13, 10 a.m. — Like a double header of baseball, two public hearings on Age-Restricted Overlay District zoning will take place on the same night before the Planning and Zoning Commission, Monday, Nov. 13.

The meeting is set for 7:15 p.m. at the Miller-Driscoll School’s multi-purpose room on Wolfpit Road. It is the first time the P&Z will be meeting at the newly refurbished school.

On the agenda are a revised application from developer James Fieber to create regulations for Age-Restricted Overlay Districts, since the P&Z on July 10 rescinded its November 2016 regulations for them. The hearing opened on Oct. 10 at the Clune Center for the Arts.

Attorneys for Fieber said they have acquiesced to the public’s outspoken concerns about his proposed age-restricted development at 183 Ridgefield Road, and have scaled back the scope of the proposed AROD specifications, including deeper setback from the road, more acreage, and more land for open space.

More than 80 citizens attended the Oct. 10 public hearing. The proposed regulation covers property within a one-acre or two-acre district where property fronts on Danbury Road, Westport Road, or Ridgefield Road. In the case of Ridgefield Road, the district would extend only from Danbury Road to the intersection of Drum Hill Road.

“We respectfully request that the commission adopt these regulations as you did before, with the aforementioned modifications,” said Leonard Braman, one of Fieber’s attorneys on the application, on that night.

However, citizens did not see it that way. Those of about a dozen who spoke out against the AROD proposal said they have made it clear by now they do not want it on their state-designated scenic road, Ridgefield Road.

They made it clear they do not want an age-restricted housing development that would put each home on half an acre, while their homes sit on two acres.

The second public hearing continuation for Nov. 13 regarding ARODs is the fresh call for a moratorium against them, and other special districts, by resident Patricia L. Frisch.

On Oct. 23, about 50 people attended the session at which Frisch spoke at length. About half a dozen people in the audience spoke in favor of the moratorium proposal, which would end on Sept. 30, 2018, giving the P&Z time to complete its 10-year update to the Plan of Conservation and Development.

Frisch outlined several reasons why the moratorium is a good idea and should be approved, including that it is limited in scope and duration for the best interests of the town.

“The moratorium is also reasonable because it affords the opportunity for the commission to consider economic concerns when it considers desirable changes to the land-use policy and zoning scheme guiding future development in Wilton,” Frisch said in prepared remarks, a copy of which she provided to The Bulletin. They may be read at http://bit.ly/2zxmiPR.

However, Town Counsel Ira Bloom made it clear that even if approved, the moratorium would not apply to the existing application for an AROD that has already had its first public hearing. It came first, he said. It would apply only to future applications or subsequent applications, he said.

Frisch, interviewed after the hearing, said she understood it applied to subsequent applications and seemed satisfied with that, although she did not agree with Bloom’s assertion.

Braman said litigation would be the result if the moratorium is approved.

Most of the audience who spoke were in favor.

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