The Historic Districts and Properties Commission (HDPC) exists to preserve and protect the character and integrity of the Wilton Historic Districts and individually designated Historic Properties. In so doing, the Commission helps preserve the distinct character and landscape of the town, and protects the architectural and historic significance of the districts.
There are a variety of ways in which the HDPC fulfills its responsibilities. The Commission administers a design review process which grants “Certificates of Appropriateness” for plans of renovation in order to protect the historic character and style of structures in local historic districts. Encouraging and aiding in the creation of new local historic districts and local historic properties is another charge. It is one of the best ways to protect the historic character of buildings, streetscapes, and neighborhoods.
Another area of responsibility regards demolition requests. Working with the Town of Wilton Building Department, the Commission reviews requests for demolition of any structures or part thereof larger than 500 square feet and over 50 years of age, whether or not they are located in an Historic District. If the structure is deemed of historic, architectural, or cultural interest, the Commission may request a demolition delay of 90 days. This gives an opportunity for anyone interested in salvaging the building or architectural details to negotiate with the owner
The Commission relies on Wilton’s Historic House Survey for information about our most important structures. It is a listing of nearly 500 significant buildings, compiled and written by architectural historians. Surveys were conducted in 1989 and 2018, both funded by grants from SHPO (State Historic Preservation Office) and maintained by the Wilton Historical Society. The Commission also makes use of the History Room, on the second floor of the Wilton Library, which houses the archives of the Wilton Historical Society, including genealogical, house and neighborhood information, maps, photographs and journals.
The Historic District and Properties Commission is an appointed town commission, not part of the Wilton Historical Society, which is a non-profit organization. However, the Wilton Historical Society plays an important role in maintaining the town’s history, as it owns and maintains all the structures in Historic Districts #1 (Lambert Corner) and #5 (Wilton Historical Society Museum Complex). The Society also owns the repurposed buildings at Cannon Corner at the intersection of Olmstead Hill Road and Route 7.