Hearing on 44 Westport Road development is tonight

The Planning & Zoning Commission will hear an application on a controversial Westport Road high-density housing plan tonight at 7:15 in Wilton Library’s Brubeck Room.

The public is invited to attend the meeting, and to comment on the proposal.

Residents may also deliver letters to the Commission this afternoon. They will be read into the record tonight.

Developer Patrick Downend has submitted an application to the Planning & Zoning Commission for permission to build 20 housing units at 44 Westport Road. Six of those would fall under Connecticut’s affordable housing regulations.

A single-family historic home currently sits on the one-acre property in question.

The developer, Mr. Downend, previously built 39 units of affordable housing on Main Street in Ridgefield in 2012.

Historic home

A portion of the home at 44 Westport Road was originally built in 1759 to provide housing for slaves who worked at the Lilacstead Estate, The Bulletinreported in an article in December 1961.

According to that article, the center-most portion of the main house was the original slave quarters.

“The original slave quarters consisted of two rooms, each measuring about 12 by 15 feet and divided by a central chimney,” the author, Bob Carboni wrote.

Quarters built specifically for slaves would have been fairly uncommon in Colonial Wilton, as former First Selectman Bob Russell explains in his History of Wilton, because few slaves lived in town.

In a 1790 census, for instance, only 12 slaves were owned in town.

While the existence of a rumored underground tunnel from Westport Road to a home at 150 Danbury Road could not be validated by The Bulletin in 1961, Mr. Carboni noted in the article “a tunnel entrance that has been uncovered in the north wall of the Lilacstead [Estate’s] cellar evidently leads to another slaves quarters” on Danbury Road.

To read about neighbors’ concerns, click here.

To read about the original high-density proposal, click here.