Letter: Come on Wilton — save Schlichting house!
To the Editors:
Drive up Route 33 at this moment while the leaves are out and look at the view of the Schlichting house, which is set so nicely on the hill with the remaining old maples. You don't have much time, because this remaining piece of Yankee history will soon be gone.
Come on Wilton! Step up! Save the Schlichting Homestead!
In November 1997, CT 33 from the Ridgefield town line down to Old Ridgefield Road was designated a “scenic road.”
'By adopting a scenic road ordinance and designating a certain road as a scenic road, a municipality may regulate improvements or changes to the roadway which would alter its character. Such alterations include widening, paving, straightening, changes in grade, and removal of mature trees or stone walls, whether proposed by municipal departments, utilities or abutting property owners.'
According to the Wilton Historic District Commission at a meeting discussing the Schlichting homestead, 'Wilton is not in the real estate business,' which to me doesn't hold water. Wilton is 'all about' real estate. The commission had already spoken with Mr. Fieber, and true to form, he is interested in negotiating advantages concerning zoning restrictions. This is the same technique he is using with the White Barn Theater property in Norwalk. I cannot blame Mr. Fieber because his value system and Wilton's value system is informed by money and real estate. But I must say that it is shortsighted of our town and shortsighted of people like James Fieber to not value the few remaining properties like the Schlichting house. The Wilton Historic District Commission says the town doesn't have the money to save the homestead, but what about the additional taxes the town will collect from theproposed development?
Look in comparison what other towns, like Ridgefield, are doing — look at the Lounsbury house, their community house — why can't we do that?
At this moment in time as I write this, Ridgefield Road is still a scenic road. For this short moment you can still ride through a beautiful fall day up through Wilton toward Ridgefield and witness New England close to the 'look' we all appreciate.
What happens when it is all gone? When Mr. Fieber tears down the Schlichting house and fills in the property with homogenized McMansions, we will have to look away — and only imagine the town that once was.
The point is, saving the Schlichting homestead would add value to the town and ultimately to the property values in the town.
Wilton, Oct. 22