AROD application is withdrawn

Developer James Fieber has withdrawn his latest application for an age- restricted overlay district (AROD) regulation that would encompass Danbury Road, Westport Road and Ridgefield Road.

The public hearing on the application, which opened Oct. 10, was to be continued on the evening of Monday, Dec. 11, at a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting at the Wilton Library Brubeck Room. Now that hearing, and all other talk regarding the application, is off the agenda.

The commission will still meet tonight to consider other matters.

The withdrawal letter, from law firm Gregory and Adams P.C. on behalf of 183 Ridgefield Road, LLC, owned by Fieber, indicates the developer expects the commission will bring its previously rescinded AROD application up again for a public hearing early in 2018 of its own accord, and if it does not, then the developer will file an application for higher-density housing in some form on the property it owns at 183 Ridgefield Road.

The letter indicates that single-famly development of five large houses on the property, which it has permission for, is not economically possible in the current and foreseeable market.

“This is because there is a tremendous oversupply of large single-family houses for sale in Wilton,” the letter says. “There is a radical undersupply of downsized density single family housing in Wilton. This undersupply in Wilton is causing residents to resettle outside of Wilton. This same undersupply in Wilton is preventing new families from settling in Wilton.”

The letter indicates the developer expects the commission to bring the rescinded AROD regulation up again for a public hearing early in 2018, consist with the commission’s July 10 “commitment.”

“In support of, and in concert with the commission’s consideration of AROD in 2018, 183 will host a series of informational meetings at Gregory & Adams’ offices,” the letter states.

Fran DiMeglio, a spokesman for the developer, said there is no comment other than that. Bob Nerney, the town’s planning director, said the commission views the letter as a withdrawal and nothing else.

“Everything else in there is not anything the commission has agreed to in any way. It’s a withdrawn application, so the commission has no comment and doesn’t necessarily agree with it. It’s just withdrawn.”

No decision has been made by the commission as to whether to hear the application in the future, he said. “That is not appropriate for this time as part of a withdrawal, to consider a request. Not unless the commission publicly decides to bring it up.”

However, several Ridgefield Road AROD opponents wrote a letter to the editor that was critical of the withdrawal.

Vicki Mavis said in an email that “Owing to the unusual nature of this lengthy missive which grossly mischaracterizes the opposition to its application and seems to threaten P&Z at the same time,” she and fellow opponents Patricia Frisch and Sam Gardner  composed a response letter together.

“183’s third point, that the commission must act in early 2018, is a made-up claim,” the three said in their letter. “The commission is not required to bring up a new AROD proposal in early 2018, or ever. 183’s purpose is clear: it does not want any proposal to rezone Ridgefield Road, specifically 183 Ridgefield Road, to be subjected to an actual planning process, replete with public participation and the factual studies that we hope will be forthcoming from independent experts, in the Plan of Community Development process.”

The letter notes that the developer promises to hold information meetings abouts its concept plan in its attorney’s office.

The letter continues, “So 183 sounds a retreat, issues threats and warnings, and promises to educate us all with a series of information meetings about its concept plan to be held outside of the normal P&Z and POCD process in order to reframe the issue and muster support for its drive to revive AROD zoning on Ridgefield Road. We urge you to give no credit to the conclusory and unsupportable arguments made in the letter, which are not subject to public hearing and wholly outside the commission’s normal process.”