Neighbors pan subdivision plan

Neighborhood opposition that has been building for months against a proposed eight-lot subdivision on Cannon Road finally got a chance to be heard Feb. 26 during a public hearing of the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The application had been delayed through several continuations. In the meantime, neighbors wrote letters of opposition to the Planning and Zoning Department and The Bulletin.

About 30 people packed the meeting room of the town hall annex Monday night. The public hearing had to be continued to March 12 after several hours because it was going late into the night and more people wanted to be heard.

“This development is dangerous from an environmental perspective, and from a traffic perspective,” said neighbor Laura Perese. “It doesn’t make sense.”

The property is zoned for two-acre residential. The proposal is being made as a conservation subdivision, so a large amount of the land would be conserved while the subdivision would be in a limited area.

Planned are eight residential lots on 55.261 acres on Cannon Road. According to Wilton’s subdivision regulations, the purpose of a conservation subdivision is to “allow for a more progressive approach to the subdivision of land and preservation of natural resources and visual assets of the town.”

The Cannon Road property is owned by LTWJ LLC under the care of Tom Gunderson, according to the application. Gregory and Adams attorney J. Casey Healy, who is representing the property owners, said the land was purchased by Joanna Bailie Gunderson on May 8, 1980.

According to the application, the plan is to construct eight homes on about 10 acres of upland area and set aside the remaining 45 acres in a conservation easement. The property is in an R-2A residential zone and contains significant wetlands. It is classified as forest land under Public Act 490. The application was approved by the Inland Wetlands Commission last November.

“The plan we’re presented with here does not work, that’s the bottom line,” said neighbor Alexander Benenson, who expressed concerns along with his mother, Donna Benenson, that 100-year-old trees would be cut down as part of the construction project to build the homes. She showed photographs of the trees, and said how attractive the land is now.

Concerns were expressed about storm water and chemical runoff if the property is developed, and how it will affect the wetlands.

“My first concern is about our well water,” said Dogan Perese, husband of Laura Perese, who also spoke. “We rely on well water for our day-to-day living and I’m concerned about the impact.”

“It’s a very fragile, eccentric and intriguing site. It’s a perilous, narrow road. The road can’t support a cul-de-sac. It’s a public safety issue,” said Barbara Geddis, who also wrote a letter to the commission opposing the plan.

Geddis also wrote in a letter, “We recently moved to Wilton and Cannon Road for its history, its privacy, its range of scales, its natural assets and its accessibility to rail and to Route 57. So, Planning and Zoning, please stand up for your own regulations, stand up for those of us who came here because of the land and its history and nature. You have regulations in place for this two-acre area for a reason. You have a fragile and limited infrastructure highly dependent on the land’s natural assets.  Surely, Wilton can do much better.”

The hearing was continued to March 12. Commissioners scheduled a site walk for March 10 and promised the neighbors they would have more time to be heard.