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.