Community members packed Wilton Library’s Brubeck Room for the Wilton 2025: Architecture and Planning — Past, Present and Future event on May 11 to discuss the future of Wilton’s landscape and architecture with a panel of architect, landscape and planning professionals.
Rob Sanders, owner of Rob Sanders Architects LLC in Wilton, opened the discussion by encouraging people to imagine “what this town could be” and think about what kind of development would attract people and enhance the lives of residents.
Chris Pagliaro, partner at Pagliaro Bartels Sajda Architects LLC in Norwalk, said if Wilton is planning for the next 10 years, it has to plan differently — particularly when it comes to Wilton Center.
“Moving forward doesn’t come without cost and it’s important to invest in getting it right,” said Pagliaro. “We should be open-minded and responsible about what we need.”
“From a dental point-of-view,” Sanders said, Wilton Center has “a lot of gapped teeth and a lot of teeth out of alignment.”
“I would argue that the leftover residential structures like the house across the street from the library ... are gaps in the teeth,” said Sanders, who encouraged people to think about how those “gaps” could be filled to increase Wilton Center’s vitality.
Sanders said business owners in Wilton Center struggle to make enough money to maintain their facilities and make a profit, and he argued that more residential density downtown could help with that.
Kathleen Poirier, owner of Kathleen Poirier Architects LLC in Wilton, agreed and said there “definitely is a draw to wanting to live near the town centers of all communities.”
Sanders brought up the the recently-approved land use application to allow two dwelling units over office space at 23 Hubbard Road and said more mixed-use buildings like this would bring more people to Wilton Center.
“Mixed-use is the savior of good downtown planning,” Pagliaro said.
The panel agreed a denser downtown would support changing demographics, which Town Planner Bob Nerney said he believes needs to be taken into consideration when it comes to the future of Wilton’s landscape and architecture.