Favorable words for Wilton Heights

Revised Wilton Heights rendering from Wilton Heights LLC.
Revised Wilton Heights rendering from Wilton Heights LLC.

Developer Paxton Kinol of the proposed Wilton Heights retail and apartments project at the intersection of Routes 7 and 33 got his wish Sept. 24, when an outpouring of support came for his project during a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting at which extended hearings on technical changes finally closed.

Support came from numerous residents,  142 of whom signed a petition in support of the project distributed by resident Jeff Kaplan, and from members of the Economic Development Commission.

“EDC supports this proposal and urges P&Z to approve the application,” Christian Bilella, a member of the EDC, read aloud from a letter at the meeting before submitting it for the record.

“It is the position of EDC that this project has the potential to contribute significant economic benefit to the town. Aside from the commercial units slated to be included, this project offers a transition into the town center,” the letter said.

There was also dissent, from some neighbors of the property, where a zoning change is requested.

Anthony Boccanfuso and his wife Alexis Boccanfuso submitted a memorandum of points in opposition to the application, saying the proposed zone change and text amendments do not conform with the town’s current comprehensive plan of development and as such amount to spot zoning.

The project would threaten a delicate wetland the town’s plan directs should be preserved, the memorandum said in part.

Kinol's application is for a change of zone from R-1A to Wilton Center District for properties at 3, 7 and 11 Whitewood Lane, and additional properties on Whitewood Lane. The application also seeks to amend text on regulations for area and bulk requirements for the Wilton Center District.

Wilton Heights LLC, wants to tear down five existing buildings and replace them with two buildings that would consist of retail space and residential units within a wetland.

The response from the Planning and Zoning Commission appeared favorable. The hearing was finally closed, and in their first deliberations about the application, the commissioners said some positive things.

“The applicant has worked with us a long time, and has been very responsive to our comments,” said Commissioner Sally Poundstone.

“This is a good attempt to straddle the question of what Route 7 is going to be,” said Commissioner Chris Pagliaro.

The commission will continue its deliberations Oct. 8, with a directive to staff to write a resolution in support of the application. A vote could be taken that night. In the meantime, the commission reminded the public the application for the actual retail and residential project has not opened yet to a public hearing. That is scheduled to for Oct. 22.