Letter: Neighbors not forewarned of zoning change

To the Editors:
Jeannette Ross’s recent coverage in the Bulletin of the 35-unit, multi-family development being proposed for 183 Ridgefield Road surprised Wilton homeowners that our neighborhoods were suddenly vulnerable to such an incursion because of an audacious zoning change that was obliquely passed in a Planning & Zoning meeting on Monday, Nov. 14, 2016.
The official notice for the meeting consisted of identical ads that ran in the Bulletin for three consecutive weeks leading up to the meeting, and, like the P&Z agenda posted on the town’s website, referred only to numbered sections of zoning code.
Neither the ads nor the agenda explicitly described the modification to the zoning code and that this change would apply specifically to properties that front Ridgefield, Danbury and Westport roads.
As a result, those property owners most affected did not attend this meeting, the only public event where we would be allowed to debate the merits of the plan. Thus, no formal public opposition was noted in the minutes. But this is specious at best.
Based on comments I heard at last night’s standing-room-only P&Z meeting, I’m convinced that had those affected homeowners known in advance of the actual changes being proposed, there would have been impassioned and unanimous dissent registered against this plan in November.
As one of those property owners, I find the town’s action to be an egregious overreach, spot zoning that favors the town’s interests over the property rights of homeowners.
Ridgefield Road is the only state-designated scenic road in Wilton for a reason. Its stone walls, winding curves, mature landscaping and rows of historic homes define Wilton’s physical character, and it is a rare asset in our landscape.
Indeed, during this week’s P&Z meeting, Commissioner Scott Lawrence quoted from the town’s 2010 Plan of Conservation & Development that states “any unnecessary disruption to the character of that roadway should be avoided.”
Please join me in assuring that this commitment is upheld by registering your concern with town officials.
Victoria Mavis
Ridgefield Road, Feb. 28