Cannon Road decision put off until next P&Z meeting

Following a nearly four-hour close to the public hearing on the controversial proposal to build an eight-lot subdivision on Cannon Road, the Planning and Zoning Commission late on April 23 chose to schedule its deliberations for its next meeting.

The lateness of the hour with a still-long agenda ahead was given as the reason for not taking the discussion on after the close of the hearing. Another reason given by Chairman Scott Lawrence was that some written communications had been received and needed to be read on the subject.

The hearing drew about 35 people to the meeting room in the town hall annex. There were speakers for and against the development proposal.

The property is zoned for two-acre residential. The proposal is being made as a conservation subdivision, so a large amount of the land would be conserved while the subdivision would be in a limited area.

Planned are eight residential lots on 55.261 acres on Cannon Road. According to the application, the plan is to construct eight homes on about 10 acres of upland area and set aside the remaining 45 acres in a conservation easement.

The application was approved by the Inland Wetlands Commission last November.

The speakers April 23 included Tom Gunderson, a member of the family that owns the property, who pleaded with the commission to approve the project. “Eight lots is not a maximum use. It would put 44, 45 acres into a preserve. It’s a good deal that honors the town’s public interests,” he said.

Members of the Wilton Land Conservation Trust also voiced their approval, saying the town would benefit from the open space that would be accessible to the public and join other properties to form a large public access conservation space.

“If a standard subdivision went in there, the damage would be irreversible,” said Donna Merrill, executive director of the land trust.

Barry Gunderson, a resident who said he is not related to the owner, said he supports the proposal because the public gets preserved land and the town gets tax revenue. “From what I read, this is the most fair deal,” he said.

Those against the proposal voiced opinions including that it does not meet the standards in the regulations for conservation subdivisions.

“There are a lot of open-ended questions that need to be answered, and that’s a reason to deny it,” said attorney Mark Kovach, who was representing a resident opposed to the proposal.

Dogan Perese and his wife, Laura, spoke against it. “The application must meet the standards for conservation zoning. They can come back with an application, but this is not it,” Perese told the commissioners. “This clustering of mega-homes right along the road doesn’t work,” said Laura Perese.

Resident Tom Storrier said the footprints of the houses planned show they would be large, more than 5,000 square feet. “That’s huge,” he said, for the amount of land they would sit on.

Other residents who spoke against the proposal included Shereen Mouvayed and Barbara Geddis, who has written numerous letters on the subject.

The next meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission is May 14. The commission has 65 days to make a decision on the Cannon Road proposal.

This is a more extensive version of a story that appeared earlier.