Proposed Ordinance Changes

The Planning Board is proposing a number of Ordinance and Regulation changes in advance of the March 10, 2020 Town Meeting.  This page will  show the agendas, proposed changes, and related documents.

The summaries below are not intended to substitute for a careful reading of the proposed amendments, which are available from the Wilton Town website.  The Town will not be responsible for any inconsistency between this description and the actual text.   Please review the proposed amendments carefully and make any comments, or pose any questions, to the Planning Board at the public hearings noted.

11.06.19.Planning Board Agenda
11.18.19.Planning Board Agenda
12.06.19.Planning Board Agenda
12.18.19.Planning Board Agenda
01.08.20.Planning Board Agenda
01.29.20.Planning Board Agenda

11.06.19.Planning Board Meeting Minutes
11.20.19.Planning Board Meeting Minutes
12.06.19.Planning Board Meeting Minutes
12.18.19.Planning Board Meeting Minutes
01.08.20.Planning Board Meeting Minutes
01.29.20.Planning Board Meeting Minutes

Public Notices
01.08.20 - Proposed Ordinance changes
01.08.20 - Proposed Regulation changes
01.29.20 - Proposed Ordinance Changes

Ordinance Change Background

This link is for all the Ordinance changes but solar - version 1

Letter to property owners in the Industrial; Research and Office Park; and Downtown Commercial Districts

Version 6 for 12.18.19
Version 7 for 01.08.20
Draft for 01.29.20

Voter's Guide (download this as a pdf document here!)

The Planning Board is recommending amendments and additions to the Town Zoning Ordinance, as follows.

 Wetlands Definition and Water Body Protection

As required by State law, the definition of “wetlands” in the Ordinance would change to track the State’s definition.  The State definition of “wetlands” does not, however, cover certain vulnerable areas, like rivers, ponds, lakes and shoreland.  The Planning Board recommends new definitions of “water body” and “mean high water level” (to determine the boundaries of a water body) and adding water bodies wherever the Ordinance refers to wetlands to give these areas the same protections as wetlands.

In addition, the Planning Board recommends a new Section 4.6.8, under Performance Standards, to prohibit the application of fertilizer within 25 feet of wetlands or water bodies and to regulate the application of chemicals, including pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer, within 50 feet thereof.

Manufacturing Activities in Town

The Planning Board is proposing updates to the Ordinance to better reflect the Town’s goal of preserving its rural character and assets, as set forth in its Master Plan, and to provide more guidance as to what types of activities are inconsistent with those goals and therefore prohibited.

Accordingly, the Planning Board is recommending amendments to the definitions of Light Manufacturing and Heavy Manufacturing in the Ordinance, as well as changes that clarify that Heavy Manufacturing is not permitted in Town.  The revised definition of “Heavy Manufacturing” in section 9A.2.1 includes activities that involve the processing of raw materials or chemicals (or products that are composed primarily of raw materials or chemicals), and other manufacturing activities that could reasonably be expected to adversely affect surrounding land uses or property values. The definition also specifically identifies Heavy Manufacturing as certain activities involving petroleum, chemicals or related materials or processes. Heavy Manufacturing, as redefined, would be specifically prohibited in the Industrial and Research and Office Park districts, and Light Manufacturing, the definition of which would clarify that it does not include Heavy Manufacturing, would continue to be permitted there. 

Activities that rise to the level of Light Manufacturing, but termed “light industry,” also continue to be permitted in the Commercial and Downtown Commercial districts. The Planning Board recommends amendments to these provisions to conform with the definition of Light Manufacturing to prevent confusion about permitted activities.

 Elderly Housing District

The Planning Board recommends changing the title of the section to “Age-Restricted Housing,” and applying its provisions to households where the head or spouse is at least 62 years of age, rather than 60.   The change would align with a Federal threshold for age-restricted housing, which the 60-year old requirement does not, making it easier for applicants for a special exception to understand with which Town and Federal requirements they must comply.  This change would not affect an applicant’s ability to develop cluster housing for younger groups, as long as it also complies with State and Federal requirements that prevent age discrimination. Such cluster housing would not, however, receive any additional density bonus reserved for Age-Restricted Housing under the Ordinance.

References to the “Elderly Housing District” would change to the “Age-Restricted District” where necessary throughout the Ordinance.

 New Solar Collection System Section

To facilitate the development of clean, safe, renewable energy sources in Wilton while protecting public health, safety and welfare, the Planning Board recommends the adoption of a new Solar Collection Systems section of the Ordinance.

The proposed new section defines solar collection systems broadly, not limiting them to photovoltaic cells, but including storage devices and mounting and tracking hardware, among other equipment.  The type of solar collection system is determined based on how it is mounted (roof or ground), how it is to be used (residential, commercial, etc.), its power generation capacity and, for a ground-mounted system, how much land it will cover. The proposed section specifies in which underlying land use districts each type of system may be installed (in compliance with law and with all necessary permits). Except for wholly roof-mounted residential systems, site plan review addressing pre- and post-installation site conditions and layout, equipment specifications, emergency access, buffers, fencing, and stormwater flow requirements, among others, is required. The section would also require secured undertakings to promptly and safely remove the equipment in the event of abandonment or decommissioning.

 Impact Fee Review

The Planning Board recommends that the Ordinance require Impact Fees to be reviewed every three years, rather than “periodically,” which is undefined.

None of the proposed changes to the Ordinance would affect any existing land use, solar collection system or any project for which a building permit has been issued before their adoption.

NOTE:  This summary is not intended to substitute for a careful reading of the proposed amendments, which are available from the Wilton Town website.  The Town will not be responsible for any inconsistency between this description and the actual text.  

Regulation Changes

To update Active and Substantial development


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