Letter: Right idea, wrong place

To the Editors:

Recently the loss of an historic home on Ridgefield Road and the potential development of the 13-acre parcel into high-density housing has opened a public discourse as to the value Wilton citizens place on maintaining the character of Wilton. Ridgefield Road, one of only three state-designated Scenic Roads in Fairfield County, has long exemplified that character. This corridor of historic homes, pollinator meadows, ponds for recreation and wildlife, and parcels of permanently protected open space faces potential changes allowing development that would forever destroy this outstanding landscape.

Under consideration by the town Planning and Zoning Commission is whether Ridgefield Road, from the Congregational Church to the Ridgefield/Wilton border, is to remain as part of an Age Restricted Overlay District (AROD) allowing high-density housing, specifically for residents 55 and older. The intent of this form of development is honorable and needed. However, Ridgefield Road is not currently served by public water and sewer, as required by AROD regulations. Two other roads designated under AROD are already served by the necessary public utilities to support this type of housing. Extending the water and sewer line north on Ridgefield Road would open this corridor to unfettered development. Once connected to public utilities developers have a clear path to make applications under the CT Affordable Land Use Appeal Act and would not have to comply with local zoning rules. Our beautiful scenic road risks becoming littered with multi-unit, multi-story housing complexes.

The Wilton Land Conservation Trust sees the link between our properties and land protection. The land trust does not support the overdevelopment of Ridgefield Road and asks citizens of Wilton to join with us in preserving our town’s character and its legacy of caring for the environment by requesting removal of Ridgefield Road from the Age-Restricted Overlay District. If we allow our quality of life to be destroyed, we call into question the future of Wilton. Yes, we need growth, but we also need boundaries in place to protect ourselves from speculators.   
Donna Merrill
Executive Director
Wilton Land Conservation Trust
Wilton, March 14