Incomplete Danbury Road building set for engineering review

WILTON — Work on the building that is to house a childcare center on Danbury Road, which came to a halt earlier this summer, should resume in the near future, according to Wilton Building Official Bob Root.

At a meeting of the Economic Development Commission, where he discussed a number of projects, Town Planner Michael Wrinn said there apparently was a dispute between the owner and the builder. He expressed some concern about leaving the partially constructed building exposed to the elements as we move into fall and then winter.

Root said on Friday the building’s owner has hired a new contractor and he met with both, as well as a structural engineer hired by the owner, during the first week of September. He said the town asked for an evaluation several months ago, and now it appears one with be forthcoming.

“The building is not going to collapse or blow away,” Root said when asked about its integrity.

He said the engineer will look at the condition of the building’s frame and sheathing and issue a report, which should take a week or two. The building department will then review it.

“Before they cover any sheathing, it has to be inspected and approved by the engineer,” he said.

Root said based on what he’s seen, it appears work stopped on the building in June, but he said there could have been work going on inside.

The town had been in contact with the previous contractor in early July, but now there is a new contractor in place.

Past experience

The property, which is at 213 Danbury Road, was approved for use as a child daycare center by the Planning and Zoning Commission on July 23, 2018. The plan, by Wilton Partners LLC, doing business as The Learning Experience, called for an 11,240-square-foot, two-story building on the 0.8-acre site.

Before construction could commence last year, two buildings were demolished. That prompted some controversy over the historic nature of one of the buildings.

The Historic District and Historic Properties Commission imposed a 90-day delay on the building’s destruction, citing its appearance on the town’s historic resource inventory. It was identified as the c. 1875 Fillow-Ogden house, also known as Orem Farm.

The commission described it as “picturesque vernacular in style” and it was diagonally across the street from Historic District # 5, the Wilton Historical Society’s museum complex.

According to the commission, the architectural historian Mary McCahon described the building as “an important survivor from Wilton’s quieter agricultural days. It contributes to the character of the area . . it still retains enough of its original detailing to be architecturally significant in an area that is losing its original residential/agricultural character.”

The best known owners of the house were Charles and Anna Orem, who lived there from 1918-1946, according to the commission.