Wesley Village welcome center hearing closed
Wesley Village may soon have a more welcoming appearance if the complex management has any say.
The Planning & Zoning Commission, during its meeting Wednesday, Aug. 28, voted to close the public hearing for a proposal to build a welcome center at the Wesley Village senior-care complex, located at 572 Long Hill Avenue. The matter had been first aired at the P&Z’s June 26 meeting, during which nearby residents voiced opposition.
“I don’t think anyone in this room would be happy to have a parking lot … where there once was a house,” said Gary Tuccio of 20 Spoke Drive, whose house sits in the neighborhood immediately adjacent to the proposed welcome center.
Tuccio said the center would likely be heavily used, creating noise and light pollution in the surrounding neighborhood.
Board of Aldermen President John Anglace, Jr., said that United Methodist Homes had agreed to place a six-foot privacy fence atop of a two-foot earth berm on the perimeter of the center. In addition, the light poles will be limited to a height of 10 feet, in lieu of the 16-foot fixtures originally proposed.
“The lights will not illuminate the neighboring properties,” said Anglace, who represents the third ward on the Board of Aldermen. Additionally, landscaping will 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. 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 encompass 40 four-foot trees and eight eight-foot trees, which will 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.
“Our plans give the commission discretion to add additional landscaping as the need arises,” said Swift.
“We went door to door in the neighborhood,” said David Lawlor, president and CEO of Danbury-based United Methodist Homes - which operates Wesley Village. “No other issues were added.”
Lawlor emphasized the need for the welcome center, as greater numbers of people visit a complex whose layout is rather complicated.
“The number of services we offer will grow, and we will need to keep pace with that,” said Lawlor.
Before the hearing was closed, Swift agreed to schedule a meeting with local homeowners to air any lingering concerns about the project.
“This will ensure that neighbors are 100 percent in agreement with the plan,” said commissioner Mark Widomski.
Business of beauty
Planning & Zoning commissioners also heard from the representative for 1000 Bridgeport Avenue, whose owners seek to modify the statement of use and standards applicable in this particular business district. His goal is to permit an esthetician to operate an eyelash and facial-services spa - called Winc - in the building. The commission also heard from Juliette Matthias, a licensed esthetician who, if the proposal is approved, will own and operate Winc.
“This is a very nonaggressive use for the building,” said Davis Owen, of Davis Owen Real Estate, which represents the building. The proposed facility would be on the building’s third floor and would occupy 16,000 square feet.
Despite its name, the facility would offer a full range of facial-beautification services, including lash and brow services, facials, LED therapy for acne and semi-permanent makeup. Matthias holds a cosmetology/esthetician license, which is subject to renewal every two years.
“No medical services will be offered that involve needles,” said Matthias. This would encompass Botox injections, which must be done by a medical professional.
Planning Consultant Anthony Panico said that a definition for “esthetician” does not appear in the city’s zoning regulations and would need to be added before the proposal proceeds. Pending that, the matter was tentatively added to the Sept. 11 meeting agenda.
Return to roots?
Finally, the commission conducted a public hearing on a proposal by the owner of 122 Buddington Road, which would effectively cancel a subdivision approved for this 2.55-acre parcel. Instead, the parcel would be divided into two lots, with just one new house that would be constructed.
Residents of a neighboring condo complex raised questions about the nature of the “limited farming” requested in the proposal, with attorney Dominick Thomas pointing out that it would consist of a vegetable garden. No livestock would be involved.
Thomas also noted that no rock blasting would be involved at the site, which would not disturb the complex’s nearby pool. This is because the site requires no elaborate modifications to permit the construction of the new house. Some excavation may occur to facilitate running water lines to the new structure, he said.