The Wilton Planning Board’s proposed moratorium on commercial development around Wilson Lake was rejected by the Select Board on Tuesday, April 20. Andrea Swiedom/Franklin Journal

WILTON — The Select Board on Tuesday, April 20, took no action on the Planning Board’s request for a six-month moratorium on commercial development around Wilson Lake, saying a site plan application for a marina should be evaluated under the current zoning ordinances.

I believe, and I’ve said it in the past, when we have zoning ordinances and somebody applies for a permit, we need to live within the means of our current zoning ordinances,” Selectperson David Leavitt said. “And it doesn’t mean we don’t look at making changes in the future but live within the means of what we have in place.”

The Planning Board proposed the moratorium March 18 after tabling the site plan review for James Butler’s application for a marina near the town’s public boat launch at Stinchcomb Lane. 

Butler has applied to develop boat docks to rent out boat slips near his lakefront property at 10 Rowell St.

The board set the application aside and passed a motion by Michael Parker to initiate a moratorium, which voters would have to approve at a special town meeting.

“The need for this moratorium, it is imperative, because the existing ordinances are inadequate to handle this proposed marina and any future lake development,” Parker said at the March 18 meeting. “This will provide the Planning Board an opportunity to review and revise the current ordinances relevant to this limited residential and recreational zone surrounding the lake as well as the proposed additional ordinances if needed.

“The purpose of the moratorium, above all else, is to ensure that any new development is not deleterious to the health ecology and safety of the lake, and is in the best interest to the people and town of Wilton,” Parker said.

The Planning Board further discussed their safety concerns regarding commercial development around Wilson Lake at their April 15 meeting and proposed an amendment to the zoning ordinance. The amendment proposed no outdoor, commercial development near town swimming areas and boat launches.

Selectperson Tiffany Maiuri said the Planning Board should review Butler’s application.

“The application doesn’t even seem to be complete yet so I think any discussion on a moratorium is premature,” she said. “I’m not in favor of taking any action on considering a moratorium. I think that the Planning Board should move ahead and consider the application.” 

In other business, the Select Board voted unanimously to award Dirigo Engineering with the contract for replacing one of the water and sewer department’s transmission lines. The preliminary engineering report and environmental review is estimated to cost $13,000 and the estimated cost of the design and permitting phase is $170,000.

“We want to award the engineering contract to Dirigo Engineering and then they’ll be with us for the duration of this project, we don’t want to pass this off to another firm partway through,” Water Department Superintendent Heinz Gossman said, adding that the project will likely last three to four years.

In other business, the board voted to draft and send a letter of violation notice to Tim Amerson who has illegally erected a sign for One Call Contracting at his property on U.S. Route 2. According to the town’s zoning ordinance, signs must be located within 1,000 feet of the building where the business is located.

Code Enforcement Officer Charlie Lavin notified the board that this is also a state statute and that he has already provided Amerson notifications of the violation. Amerson will have 30 days from the date of the Select Board’s letter to remove the sign before the town seeks legal counsel for further action.

The board also voted to send the Fire Department’s 30-year generator to auction with a minimum bid of $3,000.

During the manager’s report, Rhonda Irish proposed the formation of a resident committee that would tour and review town buildings to ensure they are meeting the town’s needs over several decades.

Irish also announced the annual town meeting will be held on Monday, June 14, and the location is still to be determined.

 

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