Public pushback persists as new Wilton development heads toward approval

WILTON — A 173-unit multifamily housing proposal in town faced both support and pushback from neighbors during a recent public comment period, one chief concern being the effect a modern four-story building might have on traffic and overdevelopment.

“I don’t want Wilton to become Norwalk or Stamford,” Wilton resident Nancy Wiese told the Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday, adding there has been an influx of new projects lately. She expressed worry that future modern developments would make Wilton resemble one of Fairfield County’s nearby cities.

The current Danbury Road plan also includes 18 affordable housing units.

Chairman Rick Tomasetti said the commission, which he argued is well-equipped to deal with the volume, has receieved regular proposals since he joined the board roughly five years ago.

Commissioner Florence Johnson argued the most recent project is a “nice, modern urban design,” but doesn’t feel that is within the context of the area of town. She also voiced concern over traffic during peak hours.

Development representative Samuel Fuller responded by explaining the number of different nearby styles of buildings and properties, including a faux-brick building, a modern self-storage facility and a lumberyard.

However, the project did receive support from Phyllis Zappala, a board member of the Lambert Common condominium development that would face the proposed building.

“We think its well-designed and adds some necessary vibrancy,” Zappala said, noting it should also increase the tax base in the area.

Additionally, the project development team stated it has received letters of approval from town entities, including the Department of Public Works, the fire marshal and the Conservation Commission. The project’s plans have also been reviewed for its traffic circulation by the fire department for fire engine and ladder accessibility, as well as by third-party, non-town bodies to ensure its fully up to code.

Wilton’s Architectural Review Board did make a number of design and material suggestions, one of which was the choice of brick and color schemes used on the face of the building and how it should transition more seamlessly into the sides and rear of the building.

Tomasetti also suggested that the building be angled differently over the parking stalls and extending the building while adjusting the skirt, or the bottom, of the building’s exterior.

“Consider it done,” Fuller said, adding he thought it was a “fantastic idea.”

The last board needed to give its approval before the zoning commissioners can give a final verdict is the Inland Wetlands Commission, which is set to meet with the development team on Thursday.