Plan filed for former nursery to become assisted living

Five months after the Planning and Zoning Commission approved modifying town regulations that would allow greater density for assisted living developments, a developer has filed plans for permission to build a 90-unit assisted living facility on the property that was formerly Young’s Nurseries on Route 7.

The town’s established regulations restricted assisted living developments to 12 units per acre. This was altered for developments on Danbury Road only, which now are not to exceed 24 units per acre, each of which may not be less than 300 square feet and not more than 600 square feet. The maximum building height was raised from 35 feet to 39 feet, and the minimum number of affordable units was reduced from 20% to 10%.

Now that that has been accomplished, a developer with a track record for building assisted living facilities, Senior Living Development Co., wants to convert the Route 7 property into what would be Wilton’s third for-profit assisted living center. The other two are The Greens at Cannondale and Brookdale Wilton. The developer  would ultimately sell it to the operator, Sunrise Senior Living, which is listed on the application.

The facility is intended for older seniors who need assistance in their daily needs.

“Wilton is generally underserved for assisted living facilities,” Mark DePecol, a representative of the company, told the Planning and Zoning Commission last Oct. 10 at the first public hearing for the project, before the amendments were made. He said the population is getting older.

The plan is for 90 housing units in an 75,972 square-foot building on a 3.8 acre site. will feature assisted living and memory care including fine dining, bistro, salon, fitness and many activity areas all set on a beautifully landscaped site with gardens, walking paths and sitting areas. Particular attention has been paid to buffering of the Orem’s Lane neighborhood with dense landscaping. “The neighbors are always our concern when planning an new community. We encourage interaction so they are comfortable with the project,” De Pecol said in a statement.

The project will generate between 100-150 construction jobs, 60-70 full time equivalent jobs and is expected to produce substantial tax revenues to the town with minimal impact on town services, he said. An extensive traffic report has been completed that shows a nominal traffic impact from this project, he said. This low traffic impact is due to the fact that most of the residents do not drive. Additionally, personnel shifts will be staggered to avoid rush hours, he said. The project will not have skilled nursing and ambulance visits typically average 4-6 per month. “This is a place where our parents and grandparents can age gracefully with needed assistance. Instead of possibly being secluded in their home or apartment, the residents can interact with others, enjoy fine dining and activities and get the services they need such as medication delivery, housekeeping, and personal services, “ De Pecol said.

The commission will conduct a public hearing on the new filing May 22.

Town Planning Director Bob Nerney showed a drawing of what the finished project would look like.

“The architect tries to keep to the style of the surrounding area,” he said.