Planners approve Norwalk River Valley Trail parking lot

The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the Friends of Norwalk River Valley Trail’s request to built an eight-space parking lot at the intersection of Sharp Hill Road and Autumn Ridge Drive during its July 11 meeting.

The lot will provide an additional parking space for visitors of the 38-mile Norwalk River Valley Trail (NRVT).

NRVT Steering Committee Chair Pat Sesto said the idea of building the accessory lot stemmed from the “unintended consequence” of trail visitors parking on Autumn Ridge Road instead of in the Route 7 commuter parking lot.

Sesto said the eight-space lot is modeled after other town part lots.

“It’s our preference to keep things small. That’s the approach we took and an approach consistent with the other town parks,” she said.

“We’re cognizant that this is in a residential neighborhood. We could have gone for more parking than eight [spaces], but we wanted to convey that this is a small, accessory parking area in a neighborhood.”

Sesto said the committee is looking to place timber wheel-stops in the lot to help define the parking spaces.

“If it became a problem, the efficiency became compromised and the lot wasn’t doing what it needed to do — even with the wheel-stops — we would look to other things,” said Sesto, “but a gravel lot inherently does have some limitations as far as defining.”

Sesto told The Bulletin that construction of the lot would begin around September, when trailbuilders are coming back to finish the boardwalk.

“We will have them do the parking lot then,” she said. “It’s a pretty straight-forward project.”