ECO DEV Minutes

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Meeting Date: 
January 23, 2017

ECO-DEV Minutes

January 23, 2017

Present: Jennifer Beck, Chris Devine, Harry Dailey, Nancy Clark, Jackie Kahle, Mike McGonegal, Dick Putnam

Guests: Kermit Williams, Scott Butcher, Carissa Scenna

5:30 – Discussion of status of warrant articles for town meeting. Enactment of Chapter 79-E Community Revitalization Tax Relief Incentive. Recommend 3-year tax relief period and restrict to “Wilton Village” district is a go. Design Charrette for a vision plan for village district also a go. Plan NH application is being filed in two weeks. We should have an answer before town meeting as to whether we’ve been accepted for this 80,000 professional planning engagement that will cost us $5,000. Grant monies are also being sought. Before this team makes formal recommendations about zoning changes, development or any changes to downtown services, etc. we need an outside, informed assessment of what’s possible and valuable based on what citizen’s want and business owners’ need.  Warrant article is a go for Plan NH design engagement.  The Cooley Park Fund for the restoration and upgrade of the river walk by the police station may not require a warrant article but may be something we can announce at town meeting. These funds are restricted to parks and only portions of the fund can be accessible. But it gives us a head start on this project to create more downtown community spaces that do not compromise parking. Making the river walk useable for events, picnics, and recreation adds a necessary aspect to our civic center. It also expands the psychological and geographical definitions of “downtown”. A draft design for the river walk is complete, and estimates for lighting, benches, tables, and signage are in the works.

Budget for ECO-DEV is being submitted for $500 for FY17. We will distribute those funds into other budgets covering expenses for mailings, survey monkey, etc. to help us engage citizens in the upcoming planning and to keep them informed of progress.

A request to the Planning Board to restrict any further residential development on the first floor of Main Street properties has been delayed til we have the results of a formal village vision plan. Mixed use buildings are a good thing in urban designe, but recommendations for zoning changes need to be validated by agreed upon long range plans.

Concerns were voiced over the recent Facebook exchanges about parking during theatre hours. Scott Butcher has spoken to Nelson’s and the team agreed to submit a request for municipal parking signs funneling people off Main Street to alternative parking. Many people who come from outside Wilton don’t know there are other places to park. Main Street parking is limited to one hour, but not enforced. Metered parking was mentioned as an option but we’re not ready for that decision which is sure to meet with even more resistance even if it has proven to be a realistic and positive alternative in other towns. The parking issue, perceived or real, will certainly surface in our design project.

The team agreed we need to pick up the marketing of merchants and taking them digital. This is not something the WMSA has resources to do. It’s typically what a chamber of commerce would execute. We’ll float a proposal for discussion at our meeting Feb 6th.

Decision was made to return to the firehouse for meetings. 2017 schedule is every other Monday from 5:30-7:00 starting Jan. 23rd.

7:05 - Adjourn