P+Z: Hearings closed, resolutions in the works

Two public hearings were closed at the Jan. 25 meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission — one for a four-lot subdivision, the other for a proposed modification to Wilton’s zoning regulations.

The subdivision application, filed by 183 Ridgefield Road LLC and presented by attorney Casey Healy with Gregory and Adams, seeks to divide, into four residential building lots and one open space lot, an undeveloped 10.9-acre parcel that abuts 183 Ridgefield Road.

Preservationists in Wilton have been concerned for the survival of certain historical structures at 183 Ridgefield Road, but as Healy explained during the Jan. 25 meeting, the developer who now owns the property availed himself of a first cut.

That address — 183 Ridgefield Road — is now a 2.5-acre parcel separate from the lot that was the subject of this subdivision application.

Steve Mcallister of McChord Engineering presented the subdivision map. He said that the land can be adequately described as “mostly field and meadow,” and that all development activity slated for the proposed lots would happen “outside of the wetlands and watercourses.” No inland wetlands permit would be required, he said.

Healy said “all the stone walls” would be retained, except for one, which he said would remain but “be moved to the southerly driveway that serves 183 Ridgefield Road.”

According to Healy, the health department has already reviewed and approved the septic feasibility for the four proposed lots, and a driveway to be shared between three of the proposed lots was approved by the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

“Lot #4 will be served by the existing northerly driveway at the site,” Healy said.

Commissioner Joe Fiteni was troubled by the steepness of the existing driveway, and thought it could pose a problem for mitigating drainage. “The ratio of the crown to the steepness, I believe, is not sufficient,” he said.

Fiteni and Franklin Wong were both concerned with school bus pickup, as four residential lots could mean four families with four different sets of children.

Planning and Zoning staff were tasked to draft a resolution for approval, and Town Planner Bob Nerney agreed to look into conditioning the commission’s approval on the developer widening out the foot of the driveway so parents dropping off their children at the bus stop there wouldn’t have to pull out into Ridgefield Road to turn around and head back up the hill.

Kennel parking

Also closed on Jan. 25 was a public hearing continued from the commission’s Jan. 14 meeting. This was for an application by Healy to modify Section 29-8.B.5.b (9) of the zoning regulations, which stipulates one parking space per employee plus one per 400 square feet of ground-floor area for both kennels and veterinary hospitals.

He wants the section changed to instead require of kennels one space per employee plus one per 1,000 square feet of ground floor area, up from 400. What is required of animal hospitals per Healy’s proposed modification would remain the same.

The difference between veterinary hospitals and commercial kennels is that the former treat the animals, whereas the latter give them shelter.

But because Wilton’s zoning regulations treat the two as one and the same in terms of parking requirements, the extra space kennels need for boarding means they must provide more parking than is asked of veterinarians, even though kennels and vets are typically staffed by a comparable number of employees.

On Jan. 14, after Healy’s hearing, Fiteni had asked that he clean up the proposed text amendment so that it reads more clearly, and Chairman Sally Poundstone said that information for all kennels and vets in Wilton would be needed for her approval.

Healy supplied the desired information and adjusted his proposed amendment to better distinguish the requirements of kennels from the requirements of vets.

On Jan. 25, Healy’s hearing was closed and Planning and Zoning staff will proceed to draft a resolution for approval.