Questions remain about Wykeham Inn plan
Published 7:35 pm, Tuesday, August 11, 2015
The saga of 101 Wykeham Road in Washington goes on...
The Paligroup, the owner of the Wykeham Road property from California, recently applied for a modification to the site plan and to the 2013 settlement agreement for the previously approved, specially permitted use of the former Wykeham Rise School for Girls property.
The special permit would allow construction of an inn, with stipulations.
The first session of the Washington Zoning Commission’s public hearing occurred July 13 on the Paligroup’s application.
After a three-hour session, zoning chairman Nick Solley continued the hearing to Tuesday, Aug. 11.
Attorney Robert Fisher, representing the Paligroup, said the group “specializes in small inns in residential areas.”
The proposed modifications would reduce the footprint of the main building by more than 2,000 square feet, as well as eliminating three detached cottages, reducing room count in the main building from 54 to 53, and result in reduced overall lot coverage by more than one percent from the previously approved plan.
Paul Szymanski of Arthur Howland & Associates in New Milford, also representing the applicant, said another acre of woodland would remain with the elimination of the three cottages, impervious surfaces would be reduced, and mature trees would be saved.
Ground cover would be “meadow,” not lawn, the landscape architect noted.
However, attorney Gail McTaggart, representing five neighboring property owners, argues the new modifications would actually be “directly contrary to the restrictions of the settlement agreement.”
McTaggart said plans submitted by the Paligroup to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection tell a different story than the one presented at the zoning hearing.
She explained the pool area would be doubled, with new lawn and hot tub. Alcohol would be served at the pool and food would be brought from the kitchen in the main building to guests and patrons at the pool, she said.
The current proposed plan would actually allow much broader uses and more event-oriented uses, McTaggart said. She added the proposed revisions would increase intensity of use, with amenities including a 2,400-square-foot bar area in the restaurant and a 1,125-square-foot kitchen, instead of the approved 392-square-foot kitchen, she said.
The Paligroup‘s plans are geared for “event use,” not guest accommodations, McTaggart argues.
Solley presented a list of questions for the applicant to answer at the Aug. 11 hearing. It included lot coverage details; a floor plan of what suites would look like; and clarification of the uses of the non-restaurant public spaces.