New senior living community proposed

A new housing facility that would benefit senior citizens is under discussion in Wilton.

Steve Marker, development associate of Brightview Senior Living Development, reviewed the proposed project with the Board of Selectmen at its meeting on Monday, Nov. 19.

The plan calls for construction of a senior living community on 6.91 acres at 2 and 24 Pimpewaug Road. This would be the fifth senior living community in Wilton along with The Greens at Cannondale/Wilton Meadows, Brookdale Wilton, Wilton Commons, and Sunrise Senior Living, which is under construction.

Marker explained that Brightview has been in operation for more than 20 years — developing, owning and operating senior living communities between Virginia and Boston. It owns and operates 36 senior living communities, including Brightview on New Canaan in Norwalk. It plans to open a second community in 2019 in Shelton, Marker said.

Due to the the town’s demographics, he said, the company would like to open a community in Wilton as well.

The senior living community in Wilton would be comprised of three components — independent living, assisted living, and memory care. This would allow a continuum of care for seniors to age in place, he said.

The Brightview units would be rentals, he said, and more attainable for seniors than other facilities in the area which require a large economic buy-in at the outset, often in the six figures.

Marker said the Brightview units would range from studios to two bedrooms. He estimated there would be 90 independent living units at around $4,000 a month each; 50 assisted-living units from $5,000 to $6,000 a month; and 25 memory-care units from $8,000 to $9,000 a month.

In addition to housing, the monthly rental fee covers meals (two per day for independent living, and three for assisted living and memory care), housekeeping, transportation, programs, and additional services.

People coming out of surgery could be accommodated short-term, he said, but the community would be geared toward annual rentals. He anticipates 10% of the units would qualify as affordable housing. The plan is to construct the units in 2019 or 2020.

Right of way

Brightview is under contract to purchase the properties at 2 and 24 Pimpewaug Road, Marker explained, but those purchases are contingent on various approvals needed to construct the community.

The company would also like to purchase a small piece of town property for the project. Brightview has submitted an offer to purchase 0.209 acres of the town right-of-way adjacent to 2 Pimpewaug Road for $75,000. Marker said the land would increase the facility’s frontage on Route 7.

The selectmen expressed concerns about traffic and difficulty making turns from the property. “The area needs a light and the state has said no to a light,” said First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice.

Marker said he understands the concerns with turns onto Route 7, and the company would like to improve the intersection, but so far, the state has said there isn’t a need for a traffic light there. The company is willing to add street lighting to make the intersection more visible at night and is open to adding other improvements, he said.

Brightview plans on doing a traffic study which it would submit to the state, which perhaps might change its mind about a traffic light, Marker said. “This will be a 24-hour facility and we don’t want to make traffic more congested,” he said.

There would be a public hearing on the sale of the right-of-way.

Gregory home

Another issue is what to do with the so-called “Old Gregory Home,” a historic building on the Pimpewaug property.

Marker said Brightview has been working with the Wilton Historical Society to learn more about the Gregory home and its history. He said Brightview’s intention is to renovate the house to bring back its historic character. After the house is restored, it could be used for exhibits and meetings for nonprofit groups, he said.

Vanderslice said the town would like to see the house saved. “It is a big win on that property that someone is willing to save that house. That is a good thing,” she said.

Marker said he has met with neighbors of the property to let them know about their plans, and they have expressed concerns about traffic and the facility’s visibility.

Brightview’s goal, he said, is to operate the facility long-term and develop a good relationship with the Wilton community. “We want to fit in with what’s here,” he said.

The board unanimously approved a motion to refer the proposal to the Planning and Zoning Commission for an 8-24 approval to see if it is consistent with the Plan of Conservation and Development.

The board also unanimously approved a motion to refer the proposal to the Real Estate Committee for its views and feedback.