Developer presents plan to turn rentals into condos

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WILTON – The planning board held a pre-application meeting Thursday evening to discuss a proposal to turn five rental cottages into privately-owned condominiums.

The proposal, which would involve no construction to implement, would alter the status of five small cottages at the end of Shea Street on Wilson Lake, from weekly rented camps to condos owned by individuals and administered by a condominium association. A five-condo development technically falls under the heading of a “major subdivision.” The property, which is accessed by a private road at the end of Shea, was purchased by the St. Pierre family from the Bass family in 2007.

“The are being rented right now, and our intent is to change that,” Darryl Brown of Mainland Development Co., who is assisting the St. Pierre family said. “It really is nothing more than a change of ownership.”

Darryl Brown of Mainland Development Co., describes changing five rental cottages into condos to the planning board, developers and abutters.

The five condos would be seasonal, in that they are connected to the town’s water supply, which is shut off to that area during the winter months. Developers said they intend the buildings to be used from May to October. Two new septic systems, connected to two and three of the buildings respectively, were recently installed. The only other possible improvement would be a tennis court, but that installation is still being debated. The condominium association would require would-be owners sign their agreement to a list of bylaws, which would include a need to maintain the properties.

The total acreage of the parcel, including the road and right of way, is 8.97 acres according to Brown. Due to Wilton ordinances governing subdivisions, Brown noted that no new condos could be added onto the existing land, nor is any such expansion planned for the future.

Under the Wilton ordinance, each structure needs 20,000 square feet of open space, which the five existing buildings currently meet. However, ordinances also require 200 feet of shoreline frontage per building, with the development having only 975 feet. Code Enforcement Officer Paul Montague noted that the exact amount of frontage varied throughout the season, as the Wilson Lake water level changes.

Some abutters were at the pre-application meeting, which covered the subdivision proposal in only the general sense. Gerald Bean Jr., who lives on Shea Street, noted that there was some concern over the use of the public road and a possible increase in traffic.

“It’s a very tiny street,” Bean said. “We’ve seen quite an increase in traffic this last summer.”

Bean also was concerned over water usage. That part of Wilton, due to the elevation and system configuration, has low pressure. These matters will be taken up in greater detail as the process unfolds, although Brown did note that owners would likely generate less traffic then those renting the property.

“We fully recognize the narrowness of Shea Street,” Brown said, “if we had another option we would have used it.”

Ironically, the private portion of the approach to the site meets all town specifications, while the public portion, Shea Street, is as narrow as 12 feet at one point.

The board unanimously approved a finding of a complete pre-application report and scheduled a site walk through on Aug. 21 at 6 p.m. A preliminary review of the application itself will be held on September 4, with a public hearing scheduled for Sept. 18.

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