Welcome to Town Administrator Matt Knickerbocker!
The Board of Selectmen chose to move to this more modern form of municipal government for a number of reasons including to
- Ensure continuity and of government, even when there is a change in the elected first selectperson.
- Ensure ongoing professional management of government.
- Address the increased complexity of municipal government and the associated increased responsibilities of the first selectperson.
- Expand the first selectperson’s ability to focus on long-term strategic planning, improvements and investments and advocacy on both a regional and state basis.
- Expand the pool of residents able/interested to serve as first selectperson in the future.
As first selectwoman, I remain CEO of the Town and continue be involved in management and decision making, but much of my focus has shifted to the areas noted above. I continue to work full-time, though my salary has been reduced.
CT Business Tax Credit Program-up to 100% tax credit
During each of the three years Wilton has been participating in the State’s Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credit Program, Santa Energy Corporation has donated to Wilton nonprofits and received tax credits equal to 100% or 60% of their donations. Last year alone, Santa Energy Corporation donated a total of $33,500 to six Wilton nonprofits through the program. Santa Energy was joined by R.C. Bigelow, Terex Corporation, Wilcac Life Co., Service Corp Int’l, ConnectCare Insurance and Eversource.
Candidate Signs on Town Property
We have received inquiries about candidate signs on town property. Since the Town doesn’t prohibit all signs on town-owned property, Town Counsel has advised we can’t prohibit candidate signs. In some election years, political town committees collaborated and agreed not to place signs on town-owned property. This is not one of those years.
If you want to vote in the November 8th election and are unable to vote in person, you may be able to vote by absentee ballot. The application for an absentee ballot is available on the CT Secretary of State website in English or in Spanish. A hard copy is also available at the Town Clerk’s Office. Information on the absentee voting process is on the town website here. As per CT statutes, on October 7ththe Town’s Clerk’s Office will begin mailing absentee ballots to residents who have submitted a completed application.
You may have already received an application in the mail, as several candidate campaigns and political groups have notified the Town Clerk of their intention to mail applications to residents.
Early Voting Ballot Question
Connecticut does not currently allow early voting. The November 8th ballot will include a question: Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to permit the General Assembly to provide for early voting? The Secretary of State’s Office provided an informational pamphlet, which is on the town website here.
New Canaan Ave Road Closing and Detour
New Canaan Road between Belden Hill and Old Boston Road is expected to remain closed into December. The Eversource/Aquarian installation of gas and water lines on the state-owned New Canaan Avenue is expected to continue into November, after which Eversource/Aquarion’s contractor will begin roadway restoration and pave the section of road impacted by the installation. Work will stop for the winter months. In spring 2023, installation of water and gas mains will resume on New Canaan Road between Old Boston Road and the New Canaan/Wilton Town Line.
Some residents have expressed concerns about the state-authorized natural gas expansion. The following is some more recent history of the State of Connecticut’s energy strategy regarding natural gas:
- Former Governor Malloy’s 2013 Comprehensive Energy Strategies Plan called for a statewide expansion of natural gas with a goal of almost 300,000 new customers. Also in 2013, the Legislature passed legislation providing financial incentives for those who connected to natural gas. The first community-partnered expansion in Southwest CT was in Wilton on RT 7, River Road and Center Street. Residents at the time may remember the fanfare accompanying the announcement which included, the former Governor, the DEEP Commissioner, the President of Yankee Gas, the CEO of Northeast Utilities, then first Selectman Bill Brennan and other residents and officials. The announcement received statewide and local press coverage.
- The executive summary for the updated 2018 Plan included the following language, “Converted 39,104 residential customers to natural gas for heating, and 12,021 commercial and industrial customers to natural gas for generation or other processes between 2014 and 2016.”
- In April 2022, PURA terminated connection subsidies noting significantly lower connections than expected.
- Governor Lamont’s Administration is developing a new 2022 Comprehensive Energy Strategy Plan. Information is available here.
Controlled Deer Hunt
The Town’s controlled deer hunt began on September 15th. Newer residents are often surprised to learn the Town sponsors a controlled deer hunt. Here are some details.
- What is a controlled deer hunt? It is a hunt with specific objectives and specific rules as to timing, locations, hunter qualifications and quantities of hunters and deer killed.
- Why hold a controlled deer hunt? The Town of Wilton sponsored the first controlled deer hunt in 2003 in response to a rising deer population. Wilton was not alone. As described in this document from CT Dept of Environmental and Energy Protection (DEEP), at the time significant increases in deer populations in Southwest Connecticut meant increasing deforestation, motor vehicle accidents and fatalities and risk of contracting Lyme disease.
- What is this season’s hunt plan? The hunt plan, including locations, is available on this link.
- Who oversees the hunt? Resident volunteers appointed to the Deer Management Committee by the Board of Selectmen along with Environmental Affairs Director Mike Conklin.
- Where can I find more information about the hunt? Information, including FAQs, is available on the town website here.
Proposed Cell Tower on School Road at the Bus Barn
The announcement earlier this month of Verizon’s red balloon float for the proposed cell tower led to resident questions. The following are related FAQs:
- Is there a documented need for a cell tower at this location? The area to be served by the tower is immediate to three schools, multiple playing fields, the Comstock Community Center, the Wilton Y, businesses along Rt 7 and proximate to Wilton Center. Over the years, cell service in the area has degraded due to an increase in the number of active cell phones, increased use of cell phones for streaming and downloading, and increased obstructions to the radio waves connecting the towers to cell phones due to tree plantings/growth and development. The Town gathered anecdotal information which documented the need, including communication from residents, the experiences of town and school employees and a resident survey conducted in December 2021. Survey results are available on pages 2-4 of this presentation.
- What is the remaining approval process? Once Verizon completes their application, they will file an application with the CT Siting Council for a Certificate of Environmental Compliance and Public Need. Page 1 of the above linked presentation provides a timeline. Verizon must prove need to be approved. Once filed, Verizon officials will attend a future Board of Selectmen meeting to review and explain the components of their application.
- How can I provide public comment, in favor or opposed? The CT Siting Council is required to hold a public hearing. Information will be available on the Pending Matters page of the Council’s website. The Town will also issue an e-alert once we receive notice the application has been filed. If you don’t receive town e-alerts please sign up here.
- Are any other carriers expected to have equipment on this tower? The lease between the Town and Verizon allows for additional carriers. The CT Siting Council encourages and prefers co-locating on towers.
- How can I learn more about where my carrier has equipment? A list of towers and equipment on each tower is here.
- Why a tower, why not small cell equipment? Small cell equipment has a significantly smaller coverage range.
Development Activity. Interest in investing in Wilton continues. The following are active or are in some phase of discussion with P&Z and/or the ARB.
- ASML’s announced $200 million of investment within Wilton beginning with a September 12th groundbreaking ceremony on a new internal access way.
- Application for conversion of office to additional medical for Hartford Healthcare at 50 Danbury Road.
- Pre-application discussion- Proposed hotel at iPark off Danbury Road in South Wilton.
- Application for redevelopment of office space at 523-529 Danbury Road to 18 residential apartments.
- Pre-application discussion and expected application for 30 apartments at 12 Godfrey Place in Wilton Center.
- Pre-application discussion-proposed preservation and low-density residential redevelopment of the former site of the Baptist Church at 254 Danbury Road.
- Pre-application discussion-proposed redevelopment of 5-21 River Road retail/office (Kimco site) to residential units above limited retail.
- Pre-application discussion-Proposed redevelopment of the former site of Regency Limo at 331 Danbury Road.
- Application for sewer extension and capacity allocation and approval to connect to the sewer for a proposed development at 19 Cannon Road for 70 units.
The following residential projects are currently under construction or recently completed:
- 200 Danbury Road, 35 residential apartments with retail on ground floor.
- 2 Hollyhock, 18 residential apartments expected to be ready for occupancy in December.
- 141 Danbury Road, 174 residential apartments in the early phases of construction.
Leashing of Dogs. Reminder, Wilton’s Leashing of Dogs ordinance allows dogs off leash where posted, but dogs must be under the control of their owner meaning the owner is at all times fully and clearly within the unobstructed sight and hearing of the dog, that the dog is obedient to the owner's visual and/or voice commands, and that the owner has with him at all times a visible leash, cord, chain, or other harness.
- Learn which trails require dogs on leash here.
- Dogs must be on leash at the following town-owned locations: Wilton Center Zone, Schenck’s Island, all public sidewalks and roadways, the Town Hall Complex, the Gilbert and Bennett School properties, Allen’s Meadow, all properties owned or operated by the Board of Education, and from March 1 to Thanksgiving Day at all playing fields operated or maintained by the Parks and Recreation Department.
- No dogs at the following locations: WHS Stadium Complex, Lilly Field Complex, WHS and Middlebrook tennis courts and all basketball courts.
SNAP Benefits Increase. Effective October 1, eligibility for benefits for the State’s Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program increase to monthly gross income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. Per the press release, this would include $2,265 for a single person and $4,625 for a four-person household. Wilton Social Services will be reaching out to eligible current clients. Please contact Social Services with questions.