Wilton P&Z shuts door on Route 7 apartments

apartments
A rendering of the proposed apartments and present building at 487 Danbury Road.

Although the Planning and Zoning Commission gave a thumbs-down to Kevin O’Brien’s application to build three one-bedroom apartments at 487 Danbury Road, he plans to regroup and reapply.

The proposal did not win over the Planning and Zoning Commission, which agreed at its meeting on May 28, to have staff develop a resolution of denial. Members will vote on that at their next meeting on June 10. At Monday night’s meeting, O’Brien saw which way things were going as the public hearing was closed and told the commission he would persevere with a new application.

The property, O’Brien said, had been approved for adaptive use in 1987, 2005, and 2016. Adaptive use allows historic properties to be preserved while being used for contemporary purposes, such as offices, retail and other uses.

Because of those prior approvals, O’Brien did not think he needed to submit proof as such, but commission members were uncomfortable without it.

“No one [on this commission] has seen the previous applications,” Commissioner Bas Nabulsi said.

Vice Chairman Rick Tomasetti questioned the dimensions of the existing properties, which include a home built in 1840 and a second building that dates from 1900.

Commissioner Doris Knapp said she did not see a relationship between the new building and the historic buildings.

“We will let the dust settle until June 10 and the formal denial,” O’Brien told The Bulletin on Wednesday. “We will regroup and come back with a game plan. It’s definitely allowed in the zone, it is needed in town. The POCD calls for greater development … it’s a matter of getting the right criteria.”

O’Brien, who is a real estate broker and was acting as a representative for the property’s owner, said Wilton has few one-bedroom apartments.

“If you’re a single professional, a divorced parent, there’s nowhere really to rent,” he said.

Proposed were three apartments, about 550 square feet each, with no particular amenities.

When asked what the rent might be, O’Brien said it depends on construction costs, but added, “We’re not proposing high-end one-bedrooms. They would be market-rate.”

The property owners would like to “start construction sooner rather than later, but it looks like we will be into the fall to start construction.”

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