Board of Selectmen Briefs: Pimpewaug Road, blight, and more
The following items were discussed and voted on at the Dec. 3 meeting of the Board of Selectmen.
Jeff Rutishauser and Tom McDevitt of the Real Estate Committee reported to the selectmen about an offer to purchase the town right-of-way at 2 Pimpewaug Road.
Last month, Brightview Senior Living Development met with the selectmen with an offer to purchase the right-of way — 0.209 acres — for $75,000.
Brightview’s proposal, which is under town review, is to build a senior living community on 6.91 acres at 2 and 24 Pimpewaug Road. The company wants to purchase the right-of-way in order to increase its frontage on Route 7.
Brightview presented an appraisal last month to the selectmen with a value of $75,000 for the 0.209 acres. The selectmen asked the Real Estate Committee to review Brightview’s appraisal and determine if the town should get its own appraisal.
At Monday’s meeting, Rutishauser and McDevitt advised the selectmen to get an independent appraisal.
“There is always a chance the appraiser is trying to please its client. I’m not sure how the $75,000 valuation was given for this property. So it would be good to get an independent appraisal,” said Rutishauser.
McDevitt agreed. “It’s a small piece of land, but it’s important that a well-certified professional appraiser to do it,” he said.
The selectmen agreed to have their own appraisal done for the property.
During public comment, Sarah Curtis expressed concerns about the increasing quantity of senior housing in Wilton (Brightview would be the sixth senior housing complex, excluding nursing homes) and asked if there is a market for this kind of housing and what the absorption rate is. She asked if neighbors had been contacted about the project and said it was difficult to find information and answers from the town on the issue. After the meeting, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice explained there is no pending application at this time with Planning and Zoning, and all information can be found on the Nov. 19 meeting video on the town’s website or through the selectmen’s office.
Blight judgment lien
The board reviewed a policy that would allow the town to commence foreclosure actions on blight judgment liens. The proposed policy comes from a request of the town’s blight team to take foreclosure actions following the issuance of a judgment lien on blighted property.
The policy under review would allow a foreclosure action to be started after a blight judgment lien has been recorded on a property for one year.
Wilton has an anti-blight ordinance that sets fines for those who let their property fall into disrepair. A property is considered blighted if it poses a “serious threat” to the health and safety of residents.
The blight ordinance allows residents 60 days to correct the problem after being served notice by a blight prevention officer. If property owners do not fix the problems within that time, they are assessed fines.
The town has taken blight cases to court where judgment liens have been issued.
The board plans to vote on the foreclosure policy at its Dec. 17 meeting.
Savings and expenditures
Chief Financial Officer Anne Kelly-Lenz reported the town expects to incur approximately $300,000 in savings for budgeted town positions that have sat vacant.
She said there were 10 positions open for six months. A number have since been filled, and the town is expecting to fill the remaining ones in the next couple months.
Salaries from the open positions are projected to generate approximately $300,000 in savings, Kelly-Lenz explained.
Those savings will be partially offset by two expenditures recently incurred by the town.
An emergency roof replacement in the town clerk’s office will cost approximately $50,000.
There is a projected $40,000 expenditure to hire a consultant and attorney to advise the town on the Aquarion water diversion permit application. Vanderslice said the $40,000 amount could be less or more depending on how the permit application process moves along.
Vanderslice said another expenditure to consider is possibly funding the Master Plan of Conservation and Development in the current budget, rather than in next year’s budget, if there is ample revenue available this year.
Wilton Animal Control has received a gift of $3,000 from the Heistand family in honor of the dog Roscoe. First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice said the gift was made to thank Animal Control and the police department for the help and support they gave the Filip family to find their lost dog Roscoe. Vanderslice reported that, sadly, the dog has not been recovered.
The selectmen approved the following appointments and reappointments:
Appointments: David Heiden to the Energy Commission; Brett Amero to the Deer Committee.
Reappointments: Peter Wrampe to the Energy Commission; Ray Tobiassen to the Building Inspectors Board of Appeals; Allison Sanders to the Historic District and Historic Property Commission; Susan DiLoreto to the Tree Committee; J. McGarry Costello to the Council on Ethics.