North and South Wilton: An ocean between?
North and South Wilton are unofficial neighborhoods, but they do have their history, and some would say their differences.
The Wilton Board of Finance had local real estate agents and brokers attend its March 15 meeting for a panel discussion on selling residential property here.
One on the panel, Diane Millas of William Raveis, said she feels “that there’s a big distinction, amongst the real estate community, between South and North Wilton,” citing the commute as “a big factor for people” looking to buy here.
Potential buyers “want to make sure they can get to the train station quickly and easily, down the connector, to either South Norwalk, or to Westport, if they’re on the Weston side of town,” Millas said.
She also said that North Wilton seems to match the character of Wilton overall, but that South Wilton stands out — and not in a good way.
Calling it a “mix-mosh of architecture,” Millas said the southerly end of Wilton “has a very different look than the rest of the town does.”
“I’ve had several clients say, ‘Why does the south end of Wilton look so bad, coming in from the DMV and Walmart?” she said, before adding that South Wilton needs “a serious face lift.”
“If South Wilton becomes a really big issue, then people will expand into Westport, or Darien, or New Canaan, if they can afford it,” Millas said.
Where does North Wilton end and South Wilton begin, then?
The answer is that North and South Wilton are roughly defined, at best, geographically speaking.
Milas said at the Board of Finance meeting they have their juncture at Wilton High School, 395 Danbury Road.
Former first selectman and historian Bob Russell told The Bulletin that “North Wilton includes Nod Hill, Bald Hill, and the Middlebrook area.”
But Town Planner Bob Nerney said he doesn’t “think of them in terms of villages.”
“It’s a little different than Georgetown,” Nerney said. “When I think of North and South Wilton, I think of them more as compass bearings than geographic neighborhoods.”
“Geographic neighborhoods” or not, however, Nerney said North and South Wilton, as they’re understood by most, are in fact zoned differently, which speaks to Millas’ observation, if not her point.
“When people speak in terms of development, it’s usually in relation to Route 7 or within proximity to Route 7,” Nerney said.
“Areas to the south are a combination of commercial zoning, and what we call design enterprise, which is more of your corporate offices and manufacturing facilities.
“Heading north on 7, as you approach Georgetown, and even as you cross 107, it’s primarily commercial zoning. You don’t have the office park zoning up in that area.”
Nerney said that one of the concrete distinctions “between the southern end and the northerly end are, South Wilton does have the advantage of being sewered, which can accommodate larger office parks.”
“In North Wilton, the sewer ends in Cannondale at The Greens [at Cannondale], so there’s no sewer heading north into Wilton’s Georgetown section.
“That’s a consideration when it comes to development. Normally when you have a public sewer, and public water for that matter, land is capable of supporting office park development. That type of land use tends to generate greater volumes of wastewater,” he said.
According to Russell, “South Wilton was settled first, being closest to Norwalk,”
“After WWII, one-acre zoned housing was built there, and commercial development replaced all of the old homes on Danbury Road (except for Lambert House).”
“The zoning regulations were then changed to two-acre house lots for all unbuilt areas farther north.”