Letter: Age-restricted zoning decision was reckless

To the Editors:

My family has been in Wilton for four generations (since 1929). The current generation now lives on the west coast. Yet, every year in all seasons, the six of us spend what amounts to months at our home on Ridgefield Road.

Why do we travel across the country to do this? The reason is the same one commonly cited by people who choose to buy homes and live here.

Wilton is unique. Within the New York metropolitan area, there are plenty of towns with good schools, equally affordable homes, and local infrastructure. Yet only Wilton offers all this in an unspoiled, colonial environment. Chip away at the town’s by-gone, “Currier and Ives” character and you will destroy the primary reason why Wilton stands out in the metro New York area — a principal reason why people choose to live here.

The senseless demolition of the magnificent Schlichting house and the destruction of its unspoiled acreage should have been a warning shot for the town. Instead, elected officials made the reckless decision to open the door to high-density housing (and more traffic) along the length of state-designated, scenic Ridgefield Road by approving without public input the Age-Restricted Overlay District (AROD).

Risking the town’s unique character in this way is nothing short of high-stakes poker.  There are countless examples of towns that stood up to the short-term interests of developers, worked within their tax bases, and now have coveted, economically thriving historic areas. Isn’t this what residents want?

My family opposes this decision and are doing something about it. We are finalizing a conservation easement on most of our Ridgefield Road acreage to ensure that it remains “natively wild” in perpetuity. We have done this for environmental reasons, hoping others will do the same and create wildlife corridors that improve local habitat.  However, conservation easements like ours are practical too, preserving the quality of our private property and blocking the town from zoning changes that affect the long-term value of our family’s investment.
John Levin
Wilton, May 17