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

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
01.08.19.Planning Board Meeting Minutes

Public Notices
01.08.20 - Proposed Ordinance changes
01.08.20 - Proposed Regulation 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
Wetlands Definition

Planning Board is recommending amendments to the definition of “wetlands” in the ordinance, as well as a new definition, “wetland-related areas,” to comply with state law requirements and to clarify that certain vulnerable areas, intuitively understood as wetlands but not included in the statutory definition, are also under the protection of the ordinance.  The revised definition of “wetlands” refers back to the statutory definition, as required by law, and the new definition includes areas like swamps, marshes, seasonal pools, rivers, riverbeds, shoreland and similar areas. Conforming references to both wetlands and wetland-related areas are included throughout the ordinance to achieve the protection intended for all of them.

  These changes would not affect any existing land use.

  • To update the “wetlands” definition to match the State’s definition

Industrial District
The Planning Board is recommending changing the permitted Uses in the Industrial District. To do that, there are three steps, 1) the definitions in other locations need to be updated, 2) all the Districts referring to these definitions need to be changed, and 3) the Permitted Uses in the Industrial District need to be changed.

In detail, the Planning Board is recommending making amendments to the Commercial, Downtown Commercial, Industrial and Research and Office Center districts of the Town zoning ordinance to (1) make the definitions of permitted light manufacturing and light industry more consistent and (2) more specifically identify prohibited heavy manufacturing uses that would otherwise be prohibited at a much later point in the approval process by the application of the general performance standards contained in Section 4.6.  The proposed changes are intended to enhance the clarity of the ordinance and to streamline the application process by providing better up-front guidance on permitted uses, consistent with the Town’s goals as expressed in its Master Plan and in Section 4.6 of the zoning ordinance.

Accordingly, the definition of “Light Manufacturing” (in Research and Office Park District Section 9A.2.2, but also referenced in Industrial District Section 8.1) has been altered slightly to specifically exclude Heavy Manufacturing. (defined, as amended, in Section 9A.2.1) and the definitions of “light industry” (in Commercial District Section 7.1r and Downtown Commercial District Section 7A.3.3) have been conformed to focus on assembly and/or finishing of products without reference to “manufacturing,” which was confusing.  Light Manufacturing and light industry would be permitted in these districts, and the proposed changes would have no effect on existing businesses there.

 The definition of “Heavy Manufacturing” (in Research and Office Park District Section 9A.2.1, but also referenced in Industrial District Section 8.5) has been revised to identify generally, as well as give specific examples of, activities that would likely result in violations of Section 4.6 or that would appear otherwise to be inconsistent with the Town’s goals as articulated in the Master Plan.  Generally, the processing of raw materials or chemicals, or other manufacturing that could reasonably be expected to adversely affect surrounding land uses or property values, is considered Heavy Manufacturing, and manufacturing activities involving petroleum, chemicals or related materials or processes are specific examples of Heavy Manufacturing. 

Heavy Manufacturing would not be permitted in Wilton, but the proposed changes would have no effect on existing activities.  The amendments also would not limit research and development activities permitted in the Research and Office Park District, which are specifically defined.

  • To update uses within the Industrial District...
  • and Commercial District to match.
  • To update the definitions of Heavy and Light Manufacturing in the Office Research Park District.

Elderly Housing District
There are two changes proposed for this district - changing the name to be Age-restricted Housing District and updating the age restriction to 62 from 60. The reason for this is that many Federal and State requirements for age-restricted housing begin at 55 and 62. Wilton's Ordinance predates most of the Federal guidelines and this will realign Wilton. In the future, Wilton might consider moving the age down to 55 and amending the guidelines to require specific services based on the two different age restrictions.

  • To update the qualifying age within the Elderly Housing District.

Impact Fees
Currently, the Ordinance doesn't specify a time for review. This proposed change will require the Planning Board to review the fees every three years. This does not compel them to change it, only to make sure the numbers are still what Wilton needs.

  • To establish an update interval for review of impact fees.

New Solar Collection System Ordinance

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

The proposed new ordinance defines solar collection systems broadly, not limiting them to the photovoltaic cells, but including storage devices, 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 ordinance specifies in which underlying land use districts each type of system may be installed (in compliance with law and with all necessary permits), and, excepting wholly roof-mounted residential systems, requires site plan review addressing pre- and post-installation site conditions and layout, equipment specifications, emergency access, buffers, fencing, and stormwater flow requirements, among others. The ordinance would also require secured undertakings to promptly and safely remove the equipment in the event of abandonment or decommissioning.

  • To add a section in the existing zoning ordinance which addresses solar energy.

Regulation Changes

To update Active and Substantial development


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