The idea of growth and development in our charming city has been a very polarizing issue for years.

With the final approval of our new development rules at the Aug. 24 commission meeting, I am optimistic that all residents will appreciate the positive changes we have enacted with the passing of “Article 30.”

While most residents in Central and West Wilton overwhelmingly supported the proposed changes to height and density, the East Side was far more divided.  Knowing that our goal was to encourage development while also protecting our neighborhoods, we found a win-win solution for concerned nearby neighbors and potential future developers. I would like to take a moment to specifically demonstrate how these new rules will better protect nearby homes by giving an example from the East Side.

The hub map shows the newly approved heights which can allow for an “incentive additional height” if a developer delivers a superior product by including things like enhanced landscaping, street activation and public art. The majority in the North and South Side of 26th Street is color-coded pink, guaranteeing a developer the right to build five stories and potentially building six.  A small portion of 26th Street shown in red, which isn’t directly adjacent to any single-family homes, allows between 6-8 stories.  Any area in white has not been affected by these new rules.

It’s incredibly important to know that this pink area on the east side previously legally allowed for five-story buildings! Our city attorney was responsible for pointing out that if we decreased the maximum height in this area, the city could be held liable for decreasing the value of the land and incur significant legal and settlement expenses.

Not only did our previous development rules allow for five-story heights on those properties along NE 26th St., but they also allowed for building designs that created a canyon effect over neighboring homes.  If you lived directly behind one of these parcels, you might have found yourself looking straight up at a five-story building wall that was literally 10 feet from your property line. With a rear setback (distance from the property line) of 10 feet, your backyard would no longer feel like a private sanctuary.

While it is true that we increased the height from five to six stories for the parcels highlighted in pink on the map, we did so in a way that built-in new safeguards for concerned residents. Rather than allow a five-story building 10 feet from the backyard of a single-family home, our new rules require a 45-foot set back from adjacent homes. If the building is more than three stories, the 4th story and above must be set back an additional 20 feet. This is what we have referred to as the wedding cake effect, and it ensures that nearby properties won’t be overshadowed. I would certainly rather have a six-story building whose top floor was 65 feet from my backyard than a five-story flat-walled building just 10 feet from my property line, wouldn’t you?

Article 30 required a tremendous amount of creativity and compromise to come up with rules that are better protect residents and make new development feasible in our city.  By allowing developers to build up to 60 units per acre (compared to 25 previously) and providing for additional height in some areas, we were able to ensure that development was financially viable and build in new safeguards that better protect our neighborhoods.

I wish to thank every single stakeholder who shared their ideas and concerns with us.  I personally read every email and listened to every resident who reached out to me and I will continue to do so.   If you have any questions or concerns about the new development rules, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or text 954-557-2801.

– Chris Caputo

City Commissioner