Wesley Village will certainly be more inviting in the future.

The Planning & Zoning Commission, at its regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 8, approved plans by United Methodist Church, Inc., to expansion its Planned Development District (PDD) to allow construction of a welcome center at the Wesley Village senior-care complex, located at 572 Long Hill Avenue. A final detailed development plan with specifics of the construction must still be submitted for commission approval.

David Lawlor, president and CEO of Danbury-based United Methodist Homes, which operates Wesley Village, had told the commission at last month’s public hearing about the need for the welcome center, as greater numbers of people visit a complex whose layout is rather complicated.

The 6,000-square-foot welcome center — which would include a multipurpose hall and six administrative offices with 41 parking spaces — is designed to direct visitors to their destination and to consolidate a variety of services currently scattered throughout the complex.

Neighbors had voiced concerns about the project, such as noise and landscape screening. But Board of Aldermen President John Anglace, Jr., said at that public hearing that United Methodist Homes had agreed to place a six-foot privacy fence on top of a two-foot earth berm on the perimeter of the center. In addition, the light poles would be limited to a height of 10 feet, in lieu of the 16-foot fixtures originally proposed.

Additionally, landscaping would be planted on both sides of the fencing.

“Wesley Village has been there longer than most of us, and their growth has always been marked by neighborly cooperation,” said Anglace. “The current proposal is no exception.”

Jim Swift, the project’s engineer, also pointed to two rows of arborvitae trees that were added in response to criticism at the June 29 meeting. The two rows would encompass 40 four-foot trees and eight eight-foot trees, which would be planted along a parking lot added on the north side of a parking area added to the north of the access road to the complex.

This landscaping would help to create a buffer between the parking and the adjacent houses.

Other business

The commission also approved plans to repaint the exterior of Outback Steakhouse, 698 Bridgeport Avenue, and signage at three separate businesses — Standard Petroleum at 429 Shelton Avenue, Stormy’s Bull & Barley at 350 Bridgeport Avenue, and Ivy Rehab HSS Physical Therapy Center of Excellence, 385 Bridgeport Avenue.