Wilton's Ambler Farm wins approvals

Ambler Farm has a new special permit.
The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved a resolution to amend Ambler Farm’s special permit at the commission’s meeting Monday night. The original special permit was approved in 2006 with a modification made in 2007. The property is owned by the town of Wilton and managed by Friends of Ambler Farm, Inc.
The commission approved up to 10 events per year catering to not more than 120 guests. The commission also agreed to not restrict users to nonprofit groups. Ambler Farm Executive Director Robin Clune said during the public hearing easing the limitations on groups that could use the property could help raise funds for the farm.
Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Scott Lawrence said he had no doubt the proposal for evening events would better maximize the use of the property.
“This means there’s going to be more use of the property,” he said. “For me, I think what is the reasonable expectation for a residential neighborhood?”
There will be no limitation on the number of meetings or events for nonprofit entities or Friends of Ambler Farm Inc., provided any event occurring during January, February, March or when lawn parking is unavailable is limited to 30 people.
Planning and Zoning Commission Vice Chairman Rick Tomasetti said his one concern was he didn’t know enough about the programming to limit the end time of events.
“I don’t know enough about it because it’s kind of a unique thing,” he said. “If we were talking about a special permit restaurant use, we could agree what seems reasonable based on our anecdotal view of things.”
After deliberations, the commission agreed to keep the curfew for evening events to 11 p.m. All lighting on the property must also be extinguished 30 minutes after the end of an event.
Tomasetti said Ambler Farm has been a good neighbor and he expects this to continue.
The commission also approved two outdoor amplified events. This would not include the three yearly major events — Ambler Farm Day, a spring/summer event and a fall event.
Commissioner Bas Nabulsi said limiting the number of events with amplified music was important.
“I’m looking for what the reasonable expectation of an R-2A zone would be given the size of this property in terms of hosting events where there would be music til 11:00 at night,” he said.
Nabulsi said even families host events throughout the summer.
“That’s part of an R-2A zone,” he said. “You’re going to have (events) take place over the course of a summer.”
Tomasetti said if necessary, Friends of Ambler Farm could come back to discuss additional amplified events.
The definition of livestock as set forth in the Wilton zoning regulations shall also now include pigs. Friends of Ambler Farm had proposed a change to its special permit to allow up to two domesticated pigs. Pigs will also be considered a domestic farm animal as set forth in the definition of a farm in the regulations.