Battle against Ridgefield Road AROD still rages
The battle by neighbors and residents of historic Ridgefield Road against a proposed age-restricted housing development there has not ended.
Just in time for the Sept. 25 public hearing of 183 Ridgefield Road LLC — in which developer James Fieber is seeking to restore the Age-Restricted Overlay District to the town’s regulations, with an overlay request encompassing Danbury Road, Westport Road and Ridgefield Road up to the intersection of Drum Hill Road — resident Vicki Mavis is circulating a new petition.
This time, Mavis’ petition is online. More than 100 people have signed it so far, according to the website, change.org.
“As Wilton residents, we strongly oppose 183 Ridgefield Road LLC’s application to amend the Town of Wilton's zoning regulations to allow high density age-restricted housing (“AROD”) on Ridgefield Road,” the petition reads.
“Ridgefield Road is our town's only state designated scenic road which boasts the highest concentration of 18th-Century single-family homes along with many rich natural resources and heritage pre-dating the Revolutionary War that have been a point of Wilton pride for centuries,” the petition reads.
“The proposed amendment, if passed, will forever change the scenic character and historic value of Ridgefield Road. It will encourage developers to raze single family homes and build four times the number of homes despite the area's longstanding two-acre residential zoning. The resulting traffic, noise, and environmental damage will adversely impact the entire town and will significantly diminish the quality of life and property values of residents on Ridgefield Road and in surrounding neighborhoods. Therefore, we emphatically urge the Wilton Planning and Zoning commission to deny the pending application by 183 Ridgefield Road, LLC.”
The age-restricted zoning regulation passed late last year was rescinded over the summer due to errors in the way it was announced through a legal notice published in The Bulletin.
The Planning and Zoning Commission on Sept. 11 unanimously denied attorney Christopher Russo’s call from July 31 for a moratorium against age-restricted housing applications on Ridgefield Road.
Russo, acting on behalf of Mavis, told the Planning and Zoning Commission at its meeting in July the moratorium should be in place until the commission formally approves a new Plan of Conservation and Development, a once-per-every-10-years task that will be coming up soon.
However, the commissioners agreed with Town Counsel Ira Bloom that “It has no applicability, because the regulation has been rescinded.”
The issue has frustrated the neighbors.
“Decisions based on technicalities have brought us all to this point in the process,” Mavis told The Bulletin in an email. “We now have to return our refocus to the underlying principles — is Ridgefield Road an appropriate road for a new AROD regulation? We think it is not. How much weight should the commission give to the overwhelming opposition that has been demonstrated by town residents and organizations when they are asked to reenact an AROD regulation that includes Ridgefield Road?
“We think they should give greater deference to the voices of the many than they do to the interests of one developer. Should the decision be deferred until after the new POCD [Plan of Conservation and Development] has been considered and approved? If the Planning and Zoning Commission wants to hit the pause button to give it more time to consider what locations are appropriate for possible AROD developments, they can do that by passing the moratorium application that has been submitted. Everyone is suffering from fatigue about these issues, but they are important for the future of our town and we will continue to make our voices heard."
The petition is online at http://bit.ly/2faMM5m.