Concept A maintains the current parking configuration along Wilson Lake in Wilton. The plan includes a pathway that closely hugs the shoreline which will require a railing installation. File Photo

WILTON — Selectpersons voted 4-1 on Tuesday, April 6, to move forward with Concept Plan A for replacing the Wilson Lake retaining wall and to improve the waterfront for pedestrians. The plan maintains the current diagonal parking configuration and will require a railing along the waterfront walkway.

The concept design was a collaboration between Sevee & Maher Engineers (SME) and Terrence J. DeWan & Associates Landscape Architects and Planners (tjd&a) who also provided two other options. Concept B utilized parallel parking which received negative feedback from town residents. Concept C integrated both diagonal and parallel parking.

“I personally liked C because it’s a compromise, you get better green space without rails, but you do leave some angled parking,” Selectperson David Leavitt said, who voted against Concept A.

Selectperson Tiffany Maiuri also expressed skepticism towards Concept A, but ultimately voted for the plan based on residents showing their support for the design.

Town Manager Rhonda Irish said that SME will most likely opt for a rip rap design to protect the shoreline which consists of layered stones with an underlining that prevents sediment from permeating the lake’s wall.

In regards to replacing one of the town’s water and sewer department’s transmission lines that runs from Varnum Pond to Weld Street, the board formed a subcommittee to review company bids. Selectpersons Maiuri and Leavitt will work with Irish and Water Department Superintendent Heinz Gossman to determine whether Haley Ward or Dirigo Engineering will be contracted for the project.

In other business, the board tabled consideration on the Planning Board’s request for a special town meeting to be held for residents to deliberate a moratorium on commercial activity in the limited residential and recreational zone. The Select Board will first seek legal counsel on this potential moratorium.

Fire Chief Sonny Dunham presented a department report to the board, informing members of 77 services calls since Jan. 1, 15 of which were mutual aid calls, five were chimney fires, 11 were accidents and there were 11 medical calls. 

“The call volume has been up. It’s been erratic,” Dunham said. “We’re having sometimes two and three a day, then we’ll wait a few days and have some more but it’s been very active since January.” 

The department has 21 active firefighters of which Dunham said about half have received a COVID-19 vaccine while younger personnel seem to be uninterested in receiving the vaccine. The department has been affected by two cases of COVID-19, Dunham said.

The board also heard from Public Works Director John Masse who said that the highway department will focus on paving and improving sidewalks this year.

During the manager’s report, Irish informed the board that the town may have an opportunity to participate in a matching grant program with local businesses. The town could utilize tax increment financing funds or rural economic development funds for the grants.

“I think it’s something I’m interested in pursuing,” Maiuri said. “I’m always looking for economic development and bringing businesses into our town.” 

Board members requested that Irish return with additional information before they make a decision.

Irish also reported that the town has not received any response from owners of three foreclosed properties.

“We have three little glitches. The three glitches on the tax side are two properties that we’ve sent out lien notices, we’ve sent out foreclosure notices by registered mail,” Irish said. “I’ve sent them out a letter afterwards letting them know that they’ve gone past the foreclosure time and that we’re going to sell their property. 

The two properties are currently occupied and Irish said she will have to visit them in-person. The third property is owned by a mortgage company which has been unresponsive.

Nomination paperwork for the select board and the Regional School Unit 9 board are now available and are due by April 12 at 5 p.m. The three-year seats up for election are currently held by Selectperson Phil Hilton and school board member Angela LeClair.

 

 

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