Wykeham University inspires the naysayers
The application for a special permit to construct a for-profit, post-graduate school on a Wykeham Road property brought a familiar cast of naysayers to Monday's Washington Zoning Commission's public hearing.
The for-profit school, Wykeham University, would offer non-accredited, graduate and post-graduate classes in subjects ranging from acting to renewable energy.
Enrollment is projected at 120 adult students.
However, as with owner Matthew Klauer's two previous attempts to develop his 26-acre property, neighbors to the site raised concerns Monday about size and scope of the project.
Since 2008, Mr. Klauer has attempted to build an inn and, then, affordable housing. Both proposals are now in litigation.
"I believe Wykeham University will continue the long and proud history of education at the property," said Mr. Klauer.
With a reduced footprint of 17,598-square-feet from the inn proposal, the school would have eight dormitories of four rooms each, distributed across the entire property.
A main building would have student and faculty lounges, a library, reading rooms, lecture halls and a 309-seat auditorium, among other amenities.
Buffering and screening of spruce and pine trees would be planted, along with shrubs, according to the plan.
Mature trees now on site would be preserved, said Mr. Klauer's landscape architect, Dirk Sabin.
Neighbors questioned the viability of a for-profit school, the incomplete detailing of conceptual drawings of building blueprints presented to the commission, and potential soil erosion from construction at the site.
"My husband and I are fully supportive of the proposal if this is indeed a bona fide school and not a way to build buildings that could easily be changed to an inn and spa," said resident Randi Sullivan.
Mrs. Sullivan said, if the "size, scope and scale" of the proposal were reduced "it would have the support of the neighbors."
The public hearing was kept open, to be continued Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Bryan Memorial Town Hall.
The applicant must present a complete landscaping plan and a scaled drawing representing a four-sided elevation of the main building.