The Planning and Zoning Commission continued its public hearing on a proposal to allow the building height in the Design Retail Business Zone on Route 7 to be increased from two stories to three at its Monday night meeting.
The application filed by 200 Danbury Road LLC would allow buildings to be constructed up 40 feet tall, more than the current 35 feet allowed. It would also allow buildings to be constructed up to 48 feet to the highest ridge for buildings with sloped roofs.
The applicant’s attorney, J. Casey Healy, said they revisited the site plan and design study. Previously, the commission asked for additional information to see a benefit of approving a regulation change.
“We identified some site design goals and objectives,” Healy said. “We hope to create more a impactful street presence and generate the village atmosphere throughout building placements.”
The design goals included creating a more enhanced streetscape and better north-south aesthetics for the buildings on Route 7, Healy said. The applicant also looks to preserve the historic structure while maintaining good pedestrian vehicular circulation, he added.
“We also want to request the commission to reduce the view of the parking areas on Route 7,” Healy said.
Sheridan house — the historic structure in question — was relocated in the applicant’s current site plan. Planning and Zoning Chairman Scott Lawrence said preserving the structure is important and preserving it in a way that features it is even better.
Wilton Historic District and Historic Property Commission member Allison Sanders said she was happy knowing the Sheridan building was going to continue to be useful.
“I really believe fiercely in protecting our history and keeping our buildings, but I’m also someone who believes buildings need to be used,” Sanders said. “I don’t think saving an old building should turn out to be a burden for the developer.”
She added she believed the building could be useful and even appealing as a bookstore or coffee shop.
“Wilton has a really strong history of adaptive use,” Sanders said.
She said she was thrilled the commission has encouraged developers to continue to include preserving historic structures in their planning.
“My belief is the building has to continue to be useful,” she said.
Sanders added the exterior of the building needs to remain substantially the same. The interior should be adapted to suit the use for what the building may be intended for, she said.
“There are ways to do these things,” she said. “Buildings do not survive if they don’t have a purpose and they can’t be useful. It’s as simple as that.”
The hearing on the proposal will continue at the Planning and Zoning Commission’s meeting on March 11.