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Portland council to consider Waynflete growth, Charter Commission extension

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Portland council to consider Waynflete growth, Charter Commission extension

PORTLAND — The City Council Wednesday will consider a campus expansion plan for Waynflete School that has attracted plenty of attention and opposition from residents of the Western Promenade during the past year.

Waynflete's proposal would allow the school to purchase specific residential properties and build at a higher density on the current campus.The school says it needs to grow to keep up with programmatic needs.

The Planning Board spent months reviewing the proposal, and ultimately recommended it for approval to the council after several changes.

The private day school would be allowed to convert four homes to up to 60 percent school use, while the remaining 40 percent would have to be residential. Those properties are 11 Fletcher St., 299 Danforth St., 3 Storer St. and 305 Danforth St. The school already owns the latter two properties.

Neighbors have expressed concern that expansion of the school will make the neighborhood feel even more empty at night, and members of the Western Promenade Neighborhood Association said they did not accept Waynflete's assurances that the population of the school would remain around 550 students, or that it would not in the future become a boarding school.

The Planning Board in its December recommendation included language that prohibits the school from becoming a boarding school.

It also included a clause that would force the school to get Planning Board approval for any new construction or change of use of more than 5,000 square feet. That sort of restriction does not exist for any other property in the city. Small-scale changes are generally approved administratively.

City Councilor David Marshall, who represents the West End, is expected to offer an amendment Wednesday that would remove the 5,000-square-foot threshold.

In other business, the council is also expected to hear a request from the Charter Commission for an extension to the commission's deadlines. The commission wants to push back the deadline for its preliminary report to May 21, rather than March 9, with a final report due by July 16.

The City Council usually meets on Mondays in Council Chambers at City Hall. This week's 7 p.m. meeting will be held Wednesday, Jan. 20, because Monday was the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net