Town accepts 2.5 acres of open space

Wilton real estate broker Kevin O’Brien’s application to divide 434 Hurlbutt Street, a residential address, into two lots, with a third lot to be donated to the town as open space, was approved with condition by the Planning and Zoning Commission on Dec. 14.
The gift of the open space had to be something Wilton’s selectmen were amenable to receiving, and so O’Brien went before the board on Jan. 4 to formally and publicly make his offer to town executives.
At the meeting, he said not all 7.5 acres of his client’s parcel are needed for the two-lot subdivision.
“We had some extra land left over that was predominantly wetland and not needed for lot area or lot coverage or building coverage or anything of that nature,” O’Brien said. “My recommendation was we would donate it to the town, as the town owns the open space next door.”
Wilton owns 8.4 acres of wetland south of 434 Hurlbutt Street per a past subdivision, “the Crosswicks subdivision,” O’Brien called it, and with his leftover lot contiguous, the town appeared a “likely candidate” to receive it, he said.
“The Planning and Zoning Commission did approve this subdivision,” said Town Planner Bob Nerney, who stood at the dais with O’Brien on Jan. 4. “They felt that the acceptance of the open space for town purposes would be desirable, but recognize that it’s the Board of Selectmen’s decision.”
Selectman Dick Dubow wondered if the board, by accepting the open space, would set some example it could be pressed to follow in the future. “Are we setting any precedent here, in accepting this?” he asked Nerney, who answered by explaining that there are “three different avenues where open space dedication can occur.” “It can either be dedicated to the town, or to a land trust, or, I think more often what we see, is that it’s maintained and divided into equal interest [across] the approved lots,” Nerney said.
“What we try to avoid is obtaining or acquiring small pieces that really have no relevance.”
While the town’s zoning regulations stipulate that 12% of any parcel to be subdivided must be kept open and donated, that applies primarily to lots of 10 acres or more.
But in this case, since the land proposed for dedication is contiguous with — and therefore can be annexed to — another larger stretch of open space that pre-exists it, the gift is, as Nerney put it, desirable.
After deliberations, the selectmen voted unanimously to accept the 2.5 acres of open space, and to annex it to the adjacent 8.4 acres of open space south of 434 Hurlbutt Street.