Heat system issues delay church work
WILTON – The Planning Board has postponed a proposal to renovate the former Sacred Heart Church on Maple Street until its next regular meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 16.
The hearing had been set for Oct. 19. The property is owned by the Catholic Diocese of Manchester.
The Rev. Robin Lunn said a problem has been found with the heating system that much be addressed. She described it as a combination of age and previous work on the system that doesn’t meet current codes.
Lunn has a purchase-and-sales agreement. She said she is willing to continue with the project, but wants to renegotiate with the diocese.
The building has been closed temporarily, which caused the cancellation of the monthly senior dinner sponsored by the Open Cupboard Food Pantry.
The pantry itself, located in the rectory, isn’t affected.
Building inspector John Shepardson said Friday that he had inspected the system.
"It definitely has things that need to be addressed," he said.
Shepardson said he had spoken with diocese officials and that they were sending a professional engineer on Monday, Oct. 24, to look at it.
Lunn submitted a site plan on Oct. 5 that would redevelop the rectory into two apartments and change the church into a variety of uses: a cafe, food pantry, co-working space and event space. The plan included off-street parking and the addition of a new accessible entry with an elevator.
The buildings are in a residential zone and served by town water and sewer.
The application was accepted as complete.
Lunn requested several technical waivers, including location of abutting water and sewer lines, soil types, erosion and sediment control, and various architectural details to be determined at a later date. All of the waivers were granted.
Lunn was to provide proof of dedicated parking agreements off-site for events, which she did. Parking will be available at the Riverview Mills two blocks walk away. The board also approved stacked parking at the church site.
In other business, the board agreed that four lots owned by Quinn Excavations between Stoney Brook and the railroad have been fully reclaimed and that the owners can apply to place them in current use.
The property was walked recently by board members Neil Faiman and Bart Hunter.
"The property would make good conservation land," Hunter said. "It has gone back to emerging species. We saw some otters in a pool."
Faiman said, "It is happily retuning to nature happily on its own."
The board also granted approval to Eversource to trim power lines on Russell Hill and Wilson, both of which are designated "scenic" and require board approval.