'You need to up your game,' Zoning official tells developer seeking to double size of Wilton Center apartment building

The renderings for the proposed four-floor walkup apartment building at 3 Hubbard Road in Wilton Center.

The renderings for the proposed four-floor walkup apartment building at 3 Hubbard Road in Wilton Center.

Contributed Photo

WILTON — The developer seeking to double the occupancy of an apartment complex in Wilton Center has again been sent back to the drawing board.

The developer wants to expand the property at 3 Hubbard Road, known as the IVE at Wilton Center, from the existing 24 units to 51. The four-floor walkup would consist of two- and three-bedroom apartments.

One of the roadblocks for the proposal is the residential density limit in Wilton Center, where five livable units are allowed per acre, according to the town’s zoning regulations.

“Zoning regulations in Wilton Center do allow for residential (developments), but with less density than (the applicants) are currently looking for,” Town Planner Michael Wrinn said in an interview this week. “They would need us to change (our allowance.)”

Beyond adhering to the town’s density restrictions, Wrinn said pre-application reviews are used for the Planning and Zoning Commission to examine plans before they are submitted and they are keenly focused on developments that fit “harmoniously” with the architectural plans for Wilton Center.

Members of the Planning and Zoning Commission raised concerns about the design of the development during its meeting this week.

“The community is looking to achieve two things: diversity (of housing options) and affordability with enhanced aesthetics,” Rick Tomasetti, chairman of the commission, told the applicants. “The last time I think what you heard from Commissioner (Christopher) Pagliaro was, ‘don't come back with a four-story building with a hat,’ and my concern is that you have done exactly that.”

Pagliaro said the developer’s plans still do not include the commission’s recommendations.

“I don't think we need to get into the details of the architecture because from my perspective, this is the total antithesis of what I tried to speak to at the last meeting,” Pagliaro said. “I do not believe we should have four stories of a vertical wall in Wilton Center.”

In an interview after the meeting, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice said the town has a goal to develop more multifamily housing, but those plans need to meet the commission’s standards.

Pagliaro said he has “no problem” with a proposed four-story building if it fits with the town’s plan.

The building’s architect, Dave Goslin, of Crosskey Architects, presented three renderings of possible building designs.

Tomasetti said features such as a “big, low front porch” or having “some balconies and roofs set back” would be a welcoming sight with a building that would overlook Wilton Center.

Tomasetti said he also didn’t see the type of affordable component that the commission has been looking for in other proposals.

Commissioner Florence Johnson raised concerns about rent affordability. Christopher Smith, a land use attorney representing the property, said the apartment’s rent uses an annual income percentage relative to an average salary range in Fairfield County that mostly applied to firefighters, police officers, teachers and municipal employees.

The commission asked developers to come back with a restructured presentation.

“You need to up your game if you expect us to go along with you,” Tomasetti said. “Because I don’t think this pulls it off.”