Wilton Center ‘needs’ apartments

The public hearing for a land-use application to allow two dwelling units over office space at 23 Hubbard Road in Wilton Center gave thought to a larger issue at the March 28 meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission.
The application was presented on behalf of property owner Townsend-Adams Properties by Kevin O’Brien, founder and broker of O’Brien Premier Properties LLC.
The two-bedroom apartments would be “identical,” O’Brien said, and would include kitchens and living rooms. They’d be 1,500 square feet each.
O’Brien said his client is proposing some “exterior improvements,” but “no additions, as we’re staying within the footprint.”
He said this meant a “couple dormers and a couple new windows” would be installed.
Commenting on staff notes, O’Brien mentioned, “The one thing that no one had brought up, and me as a real estate broker, would like to bring up, is the need. I think there’s a need in Wilton Center for apartments,” he said.
“We need more activity in Wilton Center, not that two two-bedroom units are going to bring the Gap back, but I think it’s a positive. I think it’s a need in Wilton Center. I think we need more traffic flow, and I think we need more people living down there.”
Town Planner Bob Nerney found O’Brien’s remarks valid, and responded to them directly.
“I concur with what Mr. O’Brien says about trying to encourage people downtown, and get more of a 24/7 downtown community,” Nerney said.
“That helps businesses downtown, and we want to encourage situations like this, where there will be very little change to the building itself.”
After saying his piece, however, Nerney added that he thought the Planning and Zoning Commission should keep the hearing open so it could get recommendations from the Village District Consulting Committee.
The hearing was thus continued to the next regular meeting of the commission, on April 11.
Also continued to April 11 was another application presented by O’Brien on March 28, this one on behalf of developer James Kleiber for a special permit to allow a detached accessory dwelling unit at 434 Hurlbutt Street.