Resident raises concerns about dynamite at Wilton Heights hearing

Neighbor Anthony Boccanfuso raised concerns about dynamite in a sparsely attended June 28 public hearing of the Inland Wetlands Commission over a proposal to build a two-building, residential-retail development at the Crossways property at the intersection of Routes 7 and 33.

The applicant, Wilton Heights LLC, is seeking wetlands approved to tear down five existing buildings and replace them with two buildings that will consist of retail space and residential units within a wetland.

It is the same project that is before the Planning and Zoning Commission for a change of zone at 3, 7, and 11 Whitewood Lane from residential (R-1A) to Wilton Center (WC) District. The applicant also asked for text amendments pertaining to area and bulk requirements for the Wilton Center District. The P&Z hearing will continue July 9.

Attorney Casey Healy, representing the developer, and consultants for the project characterized it as an attractive blend of retail and apartments that will feature underground parking, which is less of a threat to the wetlands, and rain gardens, which is good for stormwater runoff and its effect on the wetlands.

However, Boccanfuso said that to build underground parking on bedrock, they will have to do a lot of blasting.

“They’re going to blow that place up day and night to get that underground parking,” Boccanfuso  said. “What will all that dynamiting through bedrock do to all the neighbors? We’ll be dancing to the rhythm of the dynamite,” he said.

He was also concerned about the old-growth trees that will be cut down to build the project, saying it would take 50 years to replace them.

His wife also spoke against the project.

“I’m against it, based on wetland issues,” said Alexis Boccanfuso. “There are a myriad of animals and plants in that wetlands.”

An engineer for the developer responded to those concerns by saying that all dynamite work would be done under the supervision of the local authorities, such as the fire marshal.

There was support for the project, too. Resident Jeff Katlan, who on June 25 presented a petition with 75 signatures supporting the project to the Planning and Zoning Commission, on June 28 presented 85 signatures in support of the project to the Inland Wetlands Commission “I know the work of this developer and his quality, and I want to move this forward,” he said.

The wetlands hearing will continue July 12.

Wilton Heights LLC, is a partnership of individuals from Fairfield County, that filed plans May 9 with the planning and zoning department for 74 residential units and 15 retail units on the 7.4-acre site. With a downtown-type design, two buildings would house apartments above retail within 1,000 feet of the Wilton train station.

Paxton Kinol, a spokesperson for Wilton Heights LLC, has said he expects that the two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments, to be built as rental units, would appeal to both millennials and empty nesters based on what he has seen happening in Norwalk.