183 Ridgefield Road subdivision application approved

The resolution of a four-lot subdivision application was approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission on Feb. 22. The vote was 6-1-1.

The application, filed by 183 Ridgefield Road LLC, sought to divide, into four residential building lots and one open space lot, an undeveloped 10.9-acre parcel that abuts 183 Ridgefield Road.

Commissioner Joe Fiteni had been troubled by the steepness of the existing driveway and thought it could pose a problem for mitigating drainage.

To address his concerns, Town Planner Bob Nerney amended the resolution to require “double basin structures” along the driveway.

Fiteni and Franklin Wong had both been concerned with school bus pickup, as four residential lots could mean four families with four sets of children.

In response to this, the resolution was amended to require that a driveway stay 22 feet wide to a point 110 feet away from the property’s frontage on Ridgefield Road.

That way, parents dropping off their children at the bus stop there wouldn’t have to pull out into Ridgefield Road to turn around and head back up the hill.

Commissioner Keith Rodgerson could not reconcile himself to vote for the approval of the subdivision application. He held that it did not conform with the Wilton Plan of Conservation and Development, and argued that it must.

“Our regulations come from the Plan of Conservation and Development,” Rodgerson said. “I have a hard time looking at this development and being able to come to the conclusion that it conforms with our Plan of Conservation and Development.”

He said there are items in the Plan of Conservation and Development concerning “historic preservation, housing goals, and watershed impacts” that “run counter to this proposed subdivision.”

Fiteni disagreed with Rodgerson. “Yes, the Plan of Conservation and Development guides our actions, and it influences our document. However, we have a set of regulations, and what is before us is if we have an applicant who conforms with the written regulations — not the Plan of Conservation and Development.”

Rodgerson did not accept that. “It is spelled out very specifically in [the Plan of Conservation and Development] that these subdivisions should be designed in conformity with the plan of conservation for Wilton.”

“I would beg to differ,” Fiteni countered. “Yes [the regulations] do contain a reference to [the plan]; I’m not denying that, but … we need to judge by the book.”

“The Plan of Conservation and Development does not have any regulatory authority. The regulatory authority is within the subdivision regulations,” he argued.

Fiteni and Rodgerson resigned themselves to disagreement and the meeting continued. When it came time to approve or deny the resolution, Rodgerson voted against. Voting for were Fiteni, Chair Sally Poundstone, Franklin Wong, Peter Shiue, and Rick Tomasetti.

Secretary Doris Knapp did not attend the meeting. It was the first regular meeting of newly appointed Commissioner Andrea Preston and she therefore abstained.