Apartment mall project is a major issue in Wilton supervisor’s race

Republican John Lant is seeking a third term as Wilton Town Supervisor.

Republican John Lant is seeking a third term as Wilton Town Supervisor.

Citizens elect John Lant

WILTON — Plans to develop several hundred apartments and townhomes at the Wilton Towne Mall and broader land use issues have emerged as central issues in this fall’s race for city supervisor.

John Lant, a Republican who is seeking a third two-year term after running unopposed in the last two elections, opposes development plans at the former Bon-Ton department store site. Citing concerns about what the proposed 382-unit development would do to city traffic, he was clear in explaining why he opposes the project. “I think there are enough apartments in Wilton,” Lant said.


Article continues below this ad

more information

On ballot: Wilton

Moderators: Toni Storm (D), John J. Lant (R, C)

Writer: Susan Baldwin (R, C)

Justice (vote for 2): David Towne (Republican, Center), Matthew Cosio (Republican, Center)

Council (2): Raymond O’Connor (R,C), Erin Kuligian (R,C)

Highway Superintendent: Michael Munro (R,C)

Democratic challenger Toni Storm supports the proposal and says this is why she entered the race. As the mall’s value declines as demand for retail space decreases, Sturm says apartments and townhomes would be a way to make the space more financially viable and bring more money into the city.

Macerich, a publicly traded company that owns the mall and other shopping centers, has proposed a $124 million project that envisions demolishing about 70,000 square feet, or about a tenth of the shopping center, to create a mixed-use development where residents can live. Shopping, dining and access to nearby Wilton Wildlife Park and Sanctuary.

Lant is one of three members of the five-person City Council who oppose the project. He had previously said the development “(requires) more services, there will be more children in the school system and taxes will rise. People are tired of paying taxes.”


Article continues below this ad

“With the apartments, the residents there will generate $370,000 in sales tax revenue annually” for the city, Sturm said. She also said the planned development targets retirees and empty nesters so that any increase in student enrollment in the Saratoga Springs School District, which includes the Wilton Mall area, would be far outweighed by school taxes collected from new residents in the district. Apartments. (State enrollment data show the district’s student population has declined 10 percent over the past decade.)

Even though he opposes the project, Lant says the income from the sales tax is too important to fund city operations. “Sales tax revenue keeps us afloat. It takes care of 79 percent of the city budget,” Lant said.

Both Lant and Sturm say they have broad public support for their views on the project.

Sturm said that while she supports the mall’s apartment project, she also sees overdevelopment as a problem the city must confront. “There is a perception that development is out of control. Any open space we have will disappear into development. We lose recreational capacity, protection for our water supply and the integrity of our environment,” Sturm said. “I think development should be tied to more stringent protections for open space.”


Article continues below this ad

Residents who have lived in the town for decades have expressed dissatisfaction with the uncontrolled development, Lant says. “They are not happy,” he said.

Early voting begins Saturday in Saratoga County and statewide with limited polling places. Election Day is Tuesday, November 7 at all polling places.

(Tags for translation)Maserich

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *