Proposed Inn’s Traffic Criticized

WASHINGTON, Conn. — As the application for an inn at the former Wykeham Rise property crawled through its sixth hour of Zoning Board testimony Mon­day, the topic turned to traffic. Marc Goodin, a Manchester-based engineer hired by a Bell Hill Road couple who oppose the project abutting their property, attacked the plan for inadequate­ly addressing traffic concerns. He said the project would “likely have a significant negative im­pact on the natural resources of Washington.” He criticized what he said were substandard narrow drive­way widths, units without emer­gency access, portions of driveway steeper than the town’s maximum 10 percent grade for a commercial driveway, and limit­ed sight lines, among other con­cerns.

Developer Matthew Klauer, who has proposed building a 54-room inn with a restaurant and bar, spa and outdoor pool on the 27-acre Wykeham Road property, said he planned to meet today with Washington Fire Marshal Donald Etherington to discuss safety issues and emergency access to the property. “If we have to change it in some way to meet the require­ments of emergency vehicle access, we certainly will,” Klauer said, adding he planned to submit a report in the next two weeks to answer other questions raised by Goodin, the commission, and the public. He said the 12 percent driveway grade belonged to the existing driveway and was exempt from regulation.

A traffic study by Klauer’s engineer determined the pro­posed development would generate 62 trips during the weekday morning peak hour, 99 trips during the weekday afternoon peak hour and 84 trips during the Saturday peak hour. The study concluded the inn would not adversely im­pact traffic around the site. Opponents of the project call the study inadequate and mis­leading.

Klauer said he intends to continue pursuing his plan for the inn, but he said he and his partners would consider al­ternatives if necessary, in­cluding low-income housing. “I really believe an inn would be the best use for the property while being contextually sensitive and an eco­nomic boon for Washington,” Klauer said. “We haven’t de­termined a definite time when to go to Plan B or Plan C.”

The Zoning Board voted 3-2 to continue the hearing to Sept. 22. The project also faces re­view from the Zoning Board of Appeals, which will recon­vene its hearing on the appli­cation Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The Inland Wetlands Com­mission has changed its hear­ing to Sept. 9 at 7 p.m.

By Rick Harrison – Republican-American

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