Developer wants to transform defunct nursery to assisted living facility

A developer with a track record for building assisted-living facilities, Senior Living Development Co., wants to convert the Young’s Nurseries property on Danbury Road into what would be Wilton’s third for-profit assisted-living center. The other two are The Greens at Cannondale and Brookdale Wilton.

The facility is intended for older seniors who need assistance in their daily needs.

“Wilton is generally underserved for assisted living facilities,” Mark DePecol, a representative of the company, told the Planning and Zoning Commission Monday, Oct. 10. He said the population is getting older.

The plan is for 90 housing units in an 8,000-square-foot building on a three-acre site. Twenty percent of the units would be reserved as affordable housing units.

That is too congested for current zoning regulations, so the developer is seeking an amendment to tweak the regulations for assisted living facilities so it can fit on the three-acre space.

It was the opening of the public hearing for the plan, and some commissioners wanted to see more details.

“I’d like to see a model of what it would look like,” said Doris Knapp.

Commissioner Joe Fiteni said he’d like to see a demographic study of other towns with growing senior populations to compare with. “There are two assisted living facilities in Wilton now,” he said. “Do we need another one?”

Members of the public who spoke were mostly positive, although some felt otherwise.

“I have nothing against this project personally, but from my experience you are going to have to go further than a five-mile radius to find seniors to live there,” said Fred Rzepka, who said other assisted-living facilities in town draw residents from as far as New York City.

“This is a positive thing,” said Lucy Krupenye.

“This is a viable plan,” said Dan Fortin, who spoke before the commission with his wife, Laura.

Sylvia Littleton did not see it that way.

“I do not see why we need a third assisted-living facility. There is no market for it,” Littleton told the commission.

The commission will take up the discussion again at its next meeting Oct. 24.

Also at that meeting, the long-awaited public hearing for the eight-unit subdivision on Cannondale Road will be conducted. The hearing has been repeatedly postponed for the past several months, including on Oct. 10.

Also postponed until Oct. 24 was the hearing on a proposed expansion of an office building at 22 Cricket Lane. The building, which is also on Route 7 across from town hall, is to be renovated for a medical facility.