Lynne Vanderslice Provides Wilton Update: Pedestrian Bridge Construction, Gaga Pit at Merwin Meadows, Field Lightning Detection, and More!

With almost half of Wilton households having children back in the Wilton Public Schools this week, it certainly feels like summer is over. Hope everyone had a good one.  

Stage 2 Drought Conditions

Wilton has been in Stage 2 drought conditions for approximately a month.  During that month, we have continued to see little rainfall, communities to the north moved to Stage 3 and some Wilton residents are reporting insufficient or no well water.  The following are measures to conserve water for your benefit and those of the community. Although voluntary, the measures are strongly encouraged.  Wilton does not have an ordinance requiring enforcement as some residents have requested.  

  • Reduce watering of lawns, gardens, or other landscaped areas.  If essential, water after sundown. 
  • Fix leaky plumbing and fixtures
  • Take shorter showers
  • Run dishwashers and clothes washing machines with full loads
  • Shut off water while washing dishes, shaving, brushing teeth, and lathering up to wash hands, rather than running the water continuously
  • Avoid washing vehicles or power-washing homes and other buildings
  • Avoid filling residential swimming pools

Town departments have taken measures to reduce their water usage.

Pedestrian Bridge Construction

Construction work began earlier this month.  Installation of piles for the bridge foundation is scheduled to start next week.  Trail access from Red Rooster Pub to the Merwin Meadows soccer field is currently closed. The current work area is too large to create an alternative route.  Please heed signage and look for future updates. 

Some residents have asked why the bridge isn't being built further south to allow it to connect directly into the Center, such as behind the Village Market.  The land up to the river, south of the RT 33 overpass to Schenck’s Island, is privately owned.  The location of the bridge is the only location proximate to the train station with sufficient publicly-owned land on each side of the Norwalk River.  Residents can check it out for themselves by using the GIS function on the town website. 

Once completed, the pedestrian bridge will connect walkers, bikers and runners to the Norwalk River Valley trail and facilitate access to Wilton Center and recreational facilities north of the center from residences on the other side of the river and the trail station.  The bridge is expected to encourage further development around the train station and is fully funded by a state grant.  

Motor Vehicle Tax Assessment Appeals  

The Board of Assessment Appeals is hearing motor vehicle appeals on September 20th, 21st and 22nd at 7:00 p.m.  If you would like to schedule a hearing, please email   Reminders, 

  • As required under Connecticut State Statute 12-71d, motor vehicles assessments were determined at 70% of clean (average) retail value, not trade in or private sale values.  The State Office of Policy and Management directs the usage of NADA guides to obtain value and provides the amount to each municipality. 
  • Assessed values are as of October 1, 2021.  Used vehicle prices increased significantly leading up to that date.  Another municipality compiled news articles on this topic.  

Field Lightning Detection System

As you return to sports fields, please note in July the town installed a lightning detection system at Merwin Meadows and the following fields,  Comstock, Middlebrook, Wilton High School, Allen’s Meadows, Ambler Farm, and Lions.  The system is equipped with a strobe light and siren.  If you aren’t at the fields, you can check lightning status on the Parks and Recreation page of the town website here.  Learn more about the system here.

State Small Business Loan Program

In July, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development launched a loan program through the CT Small Business Boost Fund.  Learn more here

Gaga Pit at Merwin Meadows

Thanks to the suggestion from 4th graders in Mrs. Levenherz’s class, Parks and Recreation staff installed a gaga pit at Merwin Meadows.  Unfortunately, it was installed after the end of school, so we weren’t able to inform the students.  If you had a 4th grader in Mrs. Levenherz’s class last year, please let them know they were heard!

100% State Tax Credits Available to Businesses Donating to Replace Town Hall Windows

The State approved Wilton's window replacement project at Town Hall as an eligible project for which business donations may receive a 100% state tax credit under the State’s Neighborhood Assistance Act.  

Businesses wishing to participate must request a tax credit by electronically submitting Form NAA-02 through the Department of Revenue Services website for each program it wishes to sponsor. The link for the form is not available until September 15th and must be electronically submitted to DRS between September 15 and October 3rd.  Wilton’s Community Affairs Coordinator Sarah Gioffre is available to answer questions and provide interested businesses with assistance beginning on September 12th.   The minimum contribution is $250 and the goal for this project is $60,000. 

Donations to eleven approved Wilton-based nonprofit projects are also eligible for either 60% or 100% tax credits. The list of approved projects is available here.

More information about the program is available here

Airbnb and Other Rental Apps

Residents have inquired about the status of Planning and Zoning discussions of Airbnb rentals. The Commission began discussions at a meeting in May and is expected to continue discussions at an upcoming meeting in September.   Should the Commission decide to consider a related zoning regulation, they are required to hold a public hearing on the proposed regulation and take comments from the public during the public hearing.  Depending on the volume of comments, the public hearing might extend beyond one meeting. 

Beyond Airbnb, there are now apps that facilitate rental of residential swimming pools, tennis courts, backyards for dogs, fitness rooms, hot tubs and other components of residential property.  Some on an hourly basis.  

Food Scraps, Hazardous Materials, Recycling and Other Waste Management

Wilton doesn’t yet have a food scrap drop off program at the transfer station, but we do encourage residents to either compost at home, use a compost pick up service or bring food scrapes to another Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority (HRRA) member community transfer station, such as Ridgefield.  Comprehensive information about all three options is available here:   Curbside Compost is registered to haul organic waste in Wilton:

This year’s Household Hazardous Waste Day will be a joint event sponsored by Town of Wilton, Town of Weston and HRAA.  The event will be held at Hurlbutt Elementary School, 9 School Road, Weston on Saturday, September 10, 2022 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. Proof of residency is required. Please visit the HRRA website for more information on what items can and cannot be disposed of at this event and to learn of other upcoming events open to Wilton residents.  For questions, please email or call 203-775-4539.

Click to learn more about what’s recyclable, Wilton’s relatively new glass recycling drop off and stewardship programs for mattresses, paint and e-waste.

Continued Efforts to Change Statewide Zoning 

During the last two legislative sessions, housing advocates were not successful in their efforts to secure statutory changes to mandate higher density in residential zoning.  Yesterday the effort moved to the courts, with a lawsuit filed against the Town of Woodbridge. The outcome of which could have implications for Wilton and other CT municipalities.  The lawsuit was brought by a housing nonprofit, whose 4-unit residential project was denied, and two Woodbridge residents. The complaint alleges the Woodbridge zoning regulations violate the Connecticut Zoning Enabling Act, the Connecticut Fair Housing Act, the general welfare requirement of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses in the Connecticut Constitution and the Anti-Segregation Clause in the Connecticut Constitution.  We’ll be following. 

Affordable Housing in Wilton

What is the status of affordable housing in Wilton?  The following is 2021 data published by the State based on their definition of affordable housing, which includes deed restricted units only.

  • 232 affordable units, or 3.58% of housing inventory as follows:  
  • 158 built with government assistance.  
  • 51 deed restricted units
  • 14 single family homes with CHFA/USDA mortgages
  • 9 tenant rental assistance 

The 232 affordable units identified by the State do not include accessory dwelling units or residential boarding houses.  We don’t maintain a count of accessory dwelling units, which include cottages, apartments over the garage and in-home apartments. 

Wilton was ahead of the curve in requiring affordable units as a condition of zoning approval.  Those early projects included a 20-year affordable period versus the current state requirement of 40 years.  Some, including Avalon on River Road, expired in the last five years, meaning in 2021 we had less affordable units than in 2016. 

Since 2021, the following 28 affordable units have been approved to be deeded for 40 years. Efforts of add more continue. 

  • 200 Danbury Road apartments-4 affordable units
  • 141 Danbury Road apartments-18 affordable units
  • Hollyhock apartments-6 affordable units

Land Records Notification System

The Town Clerk’s Office is now offering a notification system, which will alert a property owner of any recording on their property.  Further details are available here.

Today is Overdose Awareness Day.  Unfortunately, Connecticut is consistently one of the top ten states for the number of overdose deaths per 100,000 persons.  Wilton is not immune, with 12 residents having died of an overdose since 2015 and with several former residents outside of Wilton.  This month, Wilton police responded to two overdoses in the same day. 

Overdoses containing adulterants, including Fentanyl, horse tranquilizer Xyalzine and other emerging adulterants are driving the increases.  

The purpose of recognizing the Day is to two-fold: 1- to provide support to those struggling and those who have lost family members and 2-to encourage education of Wilton’s youth and adults.  CT DPH provides a comprehensive and helpful website here.

As always, please email me at with any questions.

Submitted by Wilton, CT

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