Wilton Center project grows to 5 stories, 42 apartments in new plan under affordable housing statute

A rendering designed by Granoff Architects that was included in the application from Wilton Center Lofts LLC for a five-story apartment building at 12 Godfrey Place. 

A rendering designed by Granoff Architects that was included in the application from Wilton Center Lofts LLC for a five-story apartment building at 12 Godfrey Place. 

Wilton Center Lofts application

WILTON — A developer has expanded its plans for a housing project downtown — this time proposing a five-story structure with 42 apartments.  

Wilton Center Lofts LLC reapplied to the Planning and Zoning Commission under 8-30g, a state affordable housing statute, after withdrawing a smaller housing proposal that the commission had been poised to reject. 

The latest application proposes a 42-unit structure at 12 Godfrey Place, with 30 percent of the units falling under the state’s affordable housing guidelines, according to a March 8 letter submitted from attorney Elizabeth A. B. Suchy to the town's planning director. The New England-style building would offer 13 one-bedroom units, 19 two-bedroom units, and 10 three-bedroom units, each with their own terrace. It would offer 34 parking spaces on site.

"The proposed redevelopment of the property with a multifamily use in the heart of downtown Wilton complies with many goals and policies of the Plan of Conservation and Development, most important addressing Wilton's 'top community goal' to diversify the town's housing stock," the application states. 

The project would also increase housing options that serve the Wilton community, including its younger adult and older populations, according to the application. 

This is the second attempt at redeveloping the site, which is currently the home of a three-story office complex built in the 1980s that would be demolished.  

The original proposal called for a four-story building with 32 units and 34 accompanying parking spaces, with 10 percent of units classified as affordable housing.

According to a Feb. 28 community update from First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice, the applicant withdrew the plans in anticipation of a denial by the Planning and Zoning Commission ahead of its Feb. 27 meeting.

“The applicant was seeking a zone change to allow for 54 units per acre within a half-mile of the Wilton Center train station,” Vanderslice wrote. 

The owners of the land were expected to file another proposal under 8-30g, a state statue that allows developers to bypass the town zoning regulations if they promise to build a percentage of affordable housing, she said. Less than 10 percent of housing in Wilton is designated as affordable, making the town subject to the statute. 

Concerns with the first proposal 

The first application, submitted in 2022, was expected to be turned down because it would have also required regulation changes.

The proposal said the building would have brought new residents to Wilton’s downtown and contributed toward the goal of diversifying housing in town. However, it also would have required special permits to reduce the number of required parking spaces, increase residential density and floor area ratio, and add the height and number of stories allowed for the building.

Many members of the Planning and Zoning Commission expressed support for the project at a Feb. 13 meeting, but ultimately felt the changes it would have required would be too great, particularly as the town revises its master plan

“I don't have a problem with the building, per se,” Planning and Zoning Vice Chairperson Melissa-Jean Rotini said at a Feb. 13 meeting, discussing the original application. “I don’t like that it changes the regulation.”

The applicants tried to work with the Planning and Zoning for several months to address their concerns, even adding public bocce courts to their plans and shifting the design to address concerns. But it was to no avail.

“You had me at bocce court,” Rotini added. “But I don't think (I can get past) the regulation portion.”

Many blamed their concerns on the timing of the application coinciding with the upcoming updates to the master plan, but they commended the proposal and subsequent changes made.

“It’s a good project for the town,” Commission member Kenneth Hoffman said. “I still have concerns about the timing. … But I like the project.”