P&Z hearing moved to Cider Mill

A public hearing on a planning and zoning regulation change proposed by Eric Dean, of Wilton Youth Football, will be held on Monday, Oct. 28, at 7:15 p.m. at Cider Mill School.

This Planning and Zoning Commission meeting was moved from its normal venue at the town hall annex building because resident turnout is expected to be larger than normal.

REG#133412 is an application by Mr. Dean, who is represented by the Gregory and Adams law firm, which aims to change town regulations to allow the construction of outdoor lighting fixtures up to 80 feet tall by special permit in residential zones.

Wilton Youth Football along with Wilton Youth Field Hockey and Wilton Youth Lacrosse are currently looking to improve lighting structures at the Middlebrook School field.

“By special permit” denotes that the construction of any light that exceeds the normally allowed height would have to be explicitly approved by a sitting Planning & Zoning Commission. Any light structure up to 80 feet would be vetted on a case-by-case basis.

The Committee to Preserve Wilton’s Character, organized by longtime resident Anthony LoFrisco, is unified in opposition to the lighting changes. Mr. LoFrisco and the committee believe the proposed change to lighting regulations would irreparably change Wilton’s agrarian character.

This is Wilton Youth Football’s second regulation change application. Its first was withdrawn when Mr. LoFrisco rightly noted it should be considered null by the zoning commission because the Gregory and Adams law firm was listed as the request’s applicant, when the law firm itself does not own land in Wilton.

This is a violation of Wilton regulations because any application entered to the commission must come from a land-owning resident of the town.

The new application addresses concerns raised by members of the public at the Planning & Zoning public hearing regarding the regulation change that was held on Sept. 23.

According to Bob Nerney, Wilton’s town planner, the new application creates a clear definition of an athletic field, eliminates the word facility (as in athletic facility) and replaces it with field, and restricts athletic lighting to town-owned public school properties.

The new application now proposes a regulation change that begins as follows:

“Lighting for outdoor athletic fields shall be permitted in all residential districts on Town owned public school properties subject to Special Permit and Site Plan approvals in accordance with 29-10 and 29-10. …”

The application also proposes a definition for the term “athletic fields” as “a piece of land used for playing field sports such as football, soccer, field hockey, baseball, softball, lacrosse, or similar sports; or for competitions such as track and field meets.”

Casey Healy, the attorney representing Mr. Dean, said he and his client decided not to change the maximum pole height from 80 to 70 feet because 80-foot lights currently exist at the high school varsity softball and baseball fields.

Also on the public hearing docket for that evening are an application regarding an alternative signage plan by ASML, of Danbury Road, and an application regarding the construction of a Goddard preschool next to Wilton Deli.