Wilton planning board questions signage at Sharp Hill Square

On Monday Planning & Zoning commissioners asked developer Patrick Downend to return with more information regarding two signs that would accompany his project at Sharp Hill Square. The board expressed concerns about the size of the signage as well as what it would look like in relation to the site.

On Monday Planning & Zoning commissioners asked developer Patrick Downend to return with more information regarding two signs that would accompany his project at Sharp Hill Square. The board expressed concerns about the size of the signage as well as what it would look like in relation to the site.

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WILTON — Proposed signage for a new, mixed-use development on Danbury Road prompted the town’s Planning & Zoning Commission to hold up a stop sign to the request.

On Monday commissioners asked developer Patrick Downend to return with more information regarding two signs that would accompany his project at Sharp Hill Square. The board expressed concerns about the size of the signage as well as what it would look like in relation to the site.

The three-building development consists of 15,000 square feet of retail space and 30 apartment units. The project has faced some opposition from neighbors over the past year.

Downend’s signage proposal comprised one 15-foot-tall sign on Danbury Road and a smaller, 33-square-foot sign on the north side of the lot along Sharp Hill Road, across from the cemetery.

“I’m gonna be honest, I’m scared to death with these signs,” Commissioner Christopher Pagliaro said.

Other commissioners also questioned the smaller sign.

“I think we need a really compelling reason to understand why (that sign) needs to be that big and needs those kinds of plaques,” said Chair Richard Tomasetti. “While I like the style of the sign and the rest of it, I think the sheer scale of this is large.”

Downend countered that he owed it to future tenants to offer some sort of visibility.

“You have to remember, Weston, Easton, Redding, all comes down through Sharp Hill, so I think to have some signage (there) is important,” he said. “It’s hard for me to tell them they can’t have the visibility with the 28, 29,000 cars that are out (on Route 7) a day.”

Vice Chair Melissa-Jean Rotini said she needed to see what the signs would look like in context of the streetscape. Commissioner Florence Johnson agreed.

Town Planner Michael Wrinn shared some photos of different signage along Route 7 for size and display comparison, including a sign at 249 Danbury Road that Commissioner Ken Hoffman described as “a graphic-design nightmare.”

“You have to stare at it to even determine who those tenants are,” Hoffman said. “That is a jumble that is completely useless from the street.”

Commissioners did unanimously approve the developer to proceed with phased-in occupancy at the site. The two front buildings were approved for use while the rear structure will take another six to eight months to complete before it’s ready for occupancy.

Wrinn said the Building Department would assess the two front buildings to ensure they’re compliant with town code. Paving and landscaping is expected to begin in the spring.