Neighbors oppose Wilton Acres plan

A number of Wilton Acres area residents attended the Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing on Monday, May 13, to express their concerns over a plan by Margaret DeRose to subdivide her lot at and around 5 Wilton Acres Road. 

Ms. DeRose’s plan — labeled Subdivision #910 (SUB#910) by the commission — includes the subdivision of land on Wilton Acres road into two one-acre parcels, with the intent to build a second home on her property. This project would tentatively require approximately 50% of the trees to be removed from the land that would be assigned to the second home. It would also divide the land into oddly shaped parcels, which would cause the second home to be built in close proximity to existing structures.

Ms. DeRose and her attorney requested a postponement until Tuesday, May 28, and were not  at the hearing. After deliberating the legality of continuing without the applicant present, Chairman John Wilson allowed public comment to proceed as normal. The remainder of the public hearing process will take place on May 28.

One member of the public to speak was Bruce Reznik, of 7 Wilton Acres. He presented a seven-point petition opposed to Ms. DeRose’s plan, which was signed by members of 25 of the approximately 35 households in Wilton Acres.

Among the seven points of the petition were concerns over the housing density in Wilton Acres, which is already in violation of its one-acre-plot zoning regulation, Mr. Reznik said. He argued there are currently fewer than 12 acres of land associated with the 12 houses on Wilton Acres Road.

Kathy Zalantis, of 38 Ridge Lane, said the acceptance of Ms. DeRose’s plan would set a dangerous zoning precedent for the town, as it would “make a mockery of the town’s one-acre plot requirement.”

Though Ms. DeRose’s plan lays out one-acre plots for both the existing home, and the planned additional home, Ms. Zalantis argued the layout of the plots complies with the “technical aspect of the regulation, but not the spirit of the regulation.” She said the intent of the law was to provide a minimum one-acre “contiguous parcel of land” for each Wilton home, not one acre of land patched together from other lots.

Ms. Zalantis also said the plan would run contrary to Planning and Zoning Regulation 29-4.A(7), and to the definition of a yard as laid out in Regulation 29-2.B(171).

Regulation 29-4.A(7) states: “Except as otherwise provided herein, no part of any yard or other open space required around a building or structure shall be included as part of the yard or other open space required for any other building or structure.”

Regulation 29-2.B(171) lays out the official zoning definition of a yard measurement: “… In measuring a yard, as required by these regulations, the line of building shall be deemed to mean a line parallel to the nearest lot line, drawn through the closest point of the building or group of buildings nearest to such lot line, and the measure shall be taken at right angles from the line of the building, as defined herein, to the nearest lot line.”

Because Ms. DeRose’s proposal would create a new yard from an existing yard, and because the lot does not meet the right-angle requirement of Regulation 29-2.B(171), Ms. Zolantis said, the proposed yard does not adhere to zoning regulations.

Mr. Reznik’s petition also stressed the effect of tree removal on light pollution in the area, as it would increase the amount of light that would reach the neighborhood from the adjoining Avalon condominium complex. He said light from the complex already streams into his bedroom at night, and that it would get worse if the proposed trees were removed.

Dr. Hossein Sadeghi, a pediatric pulmonologist who lives in Wilton, said the increased light pollution from the tree removal would have an adverse effect on neighborhood children’s sleep patterns. This could affect “school performance, and behavioral issues,” and could increase “aggression” in the children, he said.

Another negative aspect of tree removal Mr. Reznik said, would be its effect on pre-existing erosion issues. The area already suffers from intermittent “ponding,” or standing water after heavy rainfall.

The public hearing will be continued May 28, in room A of the town hall annex.