Wilton Planning and Zoning: New members, new officers, new approvals

At the Dec. 14 meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission, newly elected commissioners took their seats, officers were elected, and two applications were approved, one with conditions.

It was the first regular meeting for Keith Rodgerson and Scott Lawrence as commissioners. The two were elected in an uncontested race this November, along with Lori Bufano, though she was a previous commissioner whose term was renewed.

Republican Karin Venditti, another November zoning elect, for reasons not made public, resigned her post prior to taking office. To replace her, the Republican Town Committee vetted candidates and recommended Richard Tomasetti for appointment.

The commission decided Dec. 14 to convene a special meeting — so to consider the appointment of Tomasetti to serve in Venditti’s place — and did so Dec. 17.

After reviewing Tomasetti’s résumé on the 17th, Sally Poundstone moved for his appointment and was seconded by Lawrence. The motion passed unanimously at 5-0-0.

Electing new officers was another item on the agenda for Dec. 14. When it came time to do that, Bufano nominated former Vice Chairman Poundstone for the chairman’s role.

She was seconded by Joe Fiteni, and the commission voted all-in-favor, with the exception of Rodgerson and Lawrence, who being first-timers abstained out of courtesy.

Poundstone then nominated Bufano for the vice chairman position, was seconded by Peter Shiue, and again the vote was all-in-favor, excepting the new commissioners’ abstentions.

For secretary of the Planning and Zoning Commission, Joe Fiteni nominated the current officer, Doris Knapp, to another one-year term. He was seconded by Bufano, and, again, the vote was 6-0-2.

All Planning and Zoning Commission officers serve one-year terms.

Approvals


Commissioners on Dec. 14 approved two amendments to Wilton’s zoning regulations proposed at their Nov. 23 meeting by Gregory and Adams attorney Casey Healy on behalf of certain property owners with lots that abut (and only abut) Old 2 Rod Highway.

The aforementioned is a centuries-old, heavily forested mile of impassable public road that runs along the Wilton-Weston border.

Because Wilton’s regulations allow the development only of parcels with street frontage, Healy sought with his application a way to safeguard against the possibility of Old 2 Rod Highway being discontinued, with amendments that would allow property owners in Wilton to develop their lots notwithstanding any loss of frontage resulting from road discontinuation.

On Dec. 14, the commission approved Healy’s text amendments as submitted. The motion was made by Fiteni, seconded by Poundstone, and voted for 5-1-2, with Rodgerson and Lawrence abstaining and Franklin Wong against.

Dissenting, Wong did not observe an urgency to modify the regulations when he considered that Old 2 Rod Highway has not, as of yet, been discontinued. “They’re proposing this because of some action we don’t yet know will happen,” he argued.

Healy’s clients were the late Thomas T. Adams, William L. Sachs, David F. Clune, trustees of the Elizabeth Raymond Ambler Trust, Richard Christopher Montanaro, and Richard S. Gibbons.

Approved with conditions on Dec. 14 was Wilton real estate broker Kevin O’Brien’s application to divide 434 Hurlbutt Street, a residential address, into two lots, with a third lot to be donated to the town as open space.

The use of 434 Hurlbutt, at present, does not conform to Wilton’s zoning regulations, because the house and two cottages there are each occupied by tenants, and the regulations stipulate that only two residences be allowed on a single property.

Therefore, O’Brien’s application was approved with the following conditions, read aloud at the meeting by Town Planner Bob Nerney.

“Prior to the recording of the approved subdivision map in the land records, the applicant shall decommission the southerly cottage as a residence,” Nerney read.

“The northerly cottage shall also be decommissioned as a residence, unless a special permit for an accessory dwelling unit is first approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission prior to the filing of the record subdivision map.”

“What does decommissioned really mean?” asked Fiteni. “We need to define ‘decommissioned.’”

Nerney agreed to amend the resolution to indicate, the term decommissioned “shall include the removal of all kitchen and sanitary facilities.”

For this application, the motion for approval was made by Knapp and seconded by Bufano. The vote passed with five in favor and abstentions from Rodgerson, Lawrence and Shiue.