Zoners take another look at Wykeham property
Published 4:19 pm, Thursday, July 2, 2015
The new owners of 101 Wykeham Road in Washington are requesting revisions to a court settlement agreement that led to zoning approval for construction of an inn on the property.
The Paligroup, of West Hollywood, California, purchased the 27-acre parcel in March from owners Matthew and Erika Klauer.
The Klauers had tried since 2007 for zoning approval to build a luxury inn on the Wykeham Road property.
Years of legal battles and a litany of land-use meetings came to a close in February 2013 when a Litchfield Superior Court judge approved a settlement reached between the Klauers and neighbors initially opposed to the inn site and Washington’s Zoning Commission.
The settlement removed buildings, reduced parking and included a smaller restaurant among differing aspects from the original proposal.
Approval was given by the Zoning Commission that January for construction of a 24,000-square-foot, 54-guestroom inn and accompanying buildings. The judge’s approval of the settlement closed the deal.
Now The Paligroup wants that settlement altered to allow for design changes to the inn, guest cottages, driveway and parking, pool and pool house, and landscaping. The changes would be a reduction in development of the parcel, the group contends.
Three detached guest cottages would be eliminated. The main building’s footprint would be reduced by more than 2,000 square feet, and wuld feature a redesign to the front of the building.
Locations for tented events would be reduced from six to three. Shrubs, trees and wildflowers, would replace areas of lawn, reducing visibility from Wykeham Road.
Eric and Wendy Federer, among the neighbors who agreed to the 2013 settlement, have approved of the proposed changes, while Teresa Peacocke, the other neighbor in the settlement, has since sold her property to Erika Klauer.
For several other neighbors to the Wykeham Road property, including Randi Solomon, who took legal action in 2013 to try to thwart the settlement, the Paligroup’s plans are suspect. They have hired attorney Gail McTaggart to represent them.
“We have a concern about the changes which are being portrayed as minor and as a reduction in use of the property,” McTaggart said. “We are aware that, instead, an intensity of use is planned. We want to assure that this is treated as an amendment (to the approval) and all of the facts are presented before any changes are approved by the commission.”
McTaggert noted the pool would be “significantly larger,” as would the hardscape around it, and a hot tub added, anticipating larger numbers of swimmers.
Attorney Robert Fisher, representing the Paligroup, said McTaggart’s initial letter “focused on wanting a public hearing, with public input.”
“The Zoning Commission had already said that a public hearing would be held,” Fisher said. “I’ve spoken with Kari Olson, the commission’s attorney, who agreed only the proposed changes should be considered by the commission.”
A public hearing before the Zoning Commission on the application for revisions is scheduled July 13 at 7 p.m. at Bryan Memorial Town Hall in Washington Depot.