Editorial: Future planning

While residents always have an opportunity to interact with their local government — elected and appointed officials — this year brings a once-in-a-decade chance to make an impact on Wilton’s future. It’s the updating of the Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD). The community’s first opportunity is tonight, Feb. 8, from 7 to 9:30 in the Wilton High School cafeteria.

This plan offers a blueprint for how Wilton will “work” in the future. It sets forth the community’s long-term vision for the town. It offers goals and objectives on how land is used and how growth will be accommodated. What are the goals for conservation? It is the essential guide to local decision-making and policy over the next decade.

While the Planning and Zoning Commission is taking the lead on this year-long project — along with hired consultants Milone & MacBroom — residents have a large part to play. Work began in September when the commission had its initial work session, and that work continued in November when demographics, housing, community facilities, and cultural resources were reviewed. Priorities gleaned from a survey of town departments were laid out last month. They included:

  • Increasing the economic vitality of Wilton Center.
  • Housing, both affordable and diverse.
  • Community facilities, including parks, social services, and public safety.
  • Transportation, including special needs for elderly, disabled, and youth.
  • Economic development coupled with fiscal responsibility, taking into account the greatest needs with the best uses and balancing conservation and development.
  • Character and quality of life, including open space, historic structures and assets, natural resources, and energy conservation.

Tonight’s meeting will introduce the plan and a schedule of public workshops will be proposed. The public will be invited to ask questions about the process and the evening will include breakout sessions for public input.

Another public workshop is planned for May, but there will be POCD Committee work sessions in March, April and June. A draft of the updated plan is expected to be prepared by this summer with a review either this fall or early next year. More public input will be sought before a final draft is ready for a public hearing.

Details on the process may be found at wilton2029.com. There is also a Wilton 2029 Facebook page.