AROD discussions back on table

Three months to the day after the Planning and Zoning Commission rescinded its November 2016 regulations for Age Restricted Overlay Districts, the panel was back for part two on the night of Oct. 10 with a revised application from the same developer, James Fieber.

Attorneys for Fieber said they have acquiesced to the public’s outspoken concerns about his proposed AROD development at 183 Ridgefield Road, and have scaled back the scope of the AROD specifications including deeper setback from the road, more acreage, and more land for open space.

More than 80 citizens attended the public hearing, held at the Clune Center for the Arts at Wilton High School, because this has been one of the most contentious zoning issues of the year, with well-attended hearings.

The proposed regulation covers property within a one acre or two acre district where property fronts on either Danbury Road, Westport Road, or Ridgefield Road from Danbury Road up to the intersection of Drum Hill Road.

“We respectfully request that the commission adopt these regulations from the as you did before, with the aforementioned modifications,” said Leonard Braman, one of Fieber’s attorneys on this case.

However, citizens did not see it that way. Those of about a dozen who spoke out against the AROD proposal said they have made it clear by now they do not want it on their state designated scenic road.

One of the big arguments of the night was just exactly what is meant by scenic road and what jurisdiction the state has. Attorneys and engineers for Fieber said scenic road means the roadway and roadside are scenic, but there is no control of what development lies beyond the roadside. Citizens laughed out loud at that explanation and maintained that everything on the scenic road is meant to be scenic.

They made it clear they do not want an age restricted housing development that would put each home on half an acre, while their homes sit on two acres.

“Ridgefield Road is inappropriate for this,” said resident Peter Caborio.

“A 55-year-old may have children living with them, I just wanted to clarify that,” said resident Florence Johnson.

Commission Chairman Joseph Fiteni promised the hearing would be kept open and more people would be able to comment in the weeks ahead.

The commission must decide whether to act on the proposal now or wait to review the issue after the new Plan of Conservation and Development is completed.

(This story was filed late at night. It will be updated.)