In June, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved iPark Norwalk’s application to amend certain sections of Wilton's zoning regulations, including the allowance of hotel-building in town.
iPark had applied to amend certain sections of the regulations that deal with the town’s two Design Enterprise districts — the five-acre DE-5 district and the 10-acre DE-10 district — in order to eventually build a hotel on the northerly, Wilton portion of its DE-5 property at 761 Main Ave.
After having Planning and Zoning commissioners at odds, iPark’s application was approved by a 5-2 vote.
However, the building of hotels, motels and other lodging facilities wasn’t always a problem in Wilton.
In 1906, Wilton resident Sarah Davenport opened the Wilton Inn at 195 Danbury Road. The gable-roofed inn overlooked the Norwalk River south of Orem’s Lane, and featured rooms with indoor bathrooms.
Wilton Library History Room/Wilton Historical Society photos
In the mid-1930s, Wilton resident John Disbrow opened the Disbrow Motel and Cabins on the east side of Route 7 near 40 Danbury Road in South Wilton. The motel, which also had an ice cream parlor, was designed by Wilton architect Julian Whittlesey.
“Whittlesey was an interesting character — an inventor as well as an architect,” said town historian and former first selectman Bob Russell.
According to a 1989 Wilton Bulletin article written by former Wilton postman John R. Sturges, Whittlesey designed a prefabricated motel and construction started around 1935 with the help of students from the Danbury Trade School, who were paid $1 an hour to help make pieces of the motel in Redding.