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Wykeham inn could soon be a reality

Published 11:18 am, Tuesday, January 15, 2013
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A long-fought battle by Matthew and Erika Klauer to build an inn at 101 Wykeham Road in Washington may finally pay off.

The town's Zoning Commission approved a legal settlement Monday to the property in question among the commission, the Klauers and two intervening neighbors -- Teresa Peacocke and Eric and Wendy Federer.

The approving vote was 4 to 1, with zoner Nicholas Solley casting the sole "nay" vote.

Mr. Solley explained since he had not been serving on the commission when either the inn or subsequent university proposals for the site were considered, he had not had enough time to consider the details of the settlement.

The settlement ends litigation ongoing since December 2008 and should allow the Klauers to build a 24,000-square-foot, 54-guestroom inn and accompanying buildings on the property.

The settlement still has to be accepted by the state Superior Court.

The 2008 proposal to build the inn was denied by zoners, causing the Klauers to appeal the decision.

The construction of the inn -- agreed to in the settlement -- must follow modified details of the Klauers' Wykeham University proposal, previously approved by zoners in spring 2012.

"Negotiations on the inn have been ongoing since 2009," Ms. Peacocke said, confirming her agreement. "This compromise is the result of six months of intensive discussion."

The Klauers left Monday's meeting without comment. Their attorney, Robert Fisher, said his clients agreed to mutual compromises in a desire to avoid further litigation.

Restrictions added included limited the seating capacity at the inn's restaurant to 68 seats and no amplified sound is to be allowed outside nor outdoor grilling. No more than 24 tented events can be held and those only from May 1 through Oct. 13 annually.

Mitchell Solomon, a neighbor to the site, is party to two administrative appeals now before the state Superior Court in an attempt to reverse the university plan's approval.

Those appeals would now be "moot" since a stipulation in the inn settlement requires Mr. Klauer to surrender those approvals, land-use attorney Kari Olson explained.

"I have to decide what step I will take next," Mr. Solomon said following Monday's meeting. "I'll talk to the other neighbors."

"Our concern is this might not be done right," his wife, Randi Solomon, added. "We want this to be a good addition to our neighborhood."

stuz@newstimes.com; 860-355-7322