The Wilton Planning Board has given final approval to a three-story building with 114 apartments and commercial space near the intersection of Route 9 and Northern Pines Road.
John Lapper, attorney for Gordon Development, the project’s developer, said the go-ahead means construction could start this fall. They first need to demolish a used-car dealership on the site, which should be done in the next couple weeks.
The project will be done in two phases, with work on the second phase not starting until the first part is completed, Lapper said. He estimated the entire project would take more than a year to complete.
The finished mixed-use development will surround a courtyard and include 16,000 square feet of commercial space. It will have one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, a swimming pool and more than 300 parking spaces.
Lapper said the commercial space will likely be filled by businesses that cater to tenants of the building. He previously estimated units would range in price from $1,400 to $1,850 per month.
Officials from Gordon Development and its representatives have been working with the town for more than a year to move the project along, though it has met with some local opposition because of its size. According to the minutes from a public hearing in April, an attorney for a local developer described the project as a “monster building.” He argued small-scale apartments like those built by his clients are more appropriate for the area.
Debi Zellan, of Northern Pines Road, said at the public hearing the proposal was akin to projects in Malta and not appropriate for Wilton.
Lapper said concerns about the size of the structure were misguided, as they were comparing it to buildings five or six stories high. He noted no variances were required from the town in order to advance the project. To help ease people’s fears about the project’s height, a digital artist rendering and video were put together to illustrate the changes to the skyline.
At a May meeting of the Planning Board, Lapper described the project as part of a new urbanism zone, where people would walk from business to business. To further that vision, the developers are putting in 200 feet of sidewalks that would allow people to walk to future businesses that might go into the area.
Also at that meeting, local residents raised concerns about traffic congestion around the building. Lapper noted Gordon had commissioned a traffic report that was reviewed and approved by the state Department of Transportation.
Mark Nadolny, a traffic engineer with Creighton Manning, which is working on the project, explained Route 9 handles only about half the traffic it could. He said a 10 percent increase in traffic is anticipated, which would still be below the road’s threshold.
Another project under construction in Saratoga County by Gordon Development, which is based in Albany, is at the corner of Seward and Morgan streets in Saratoga Springs, where Lapper said they’re building 56 high-end rental units.