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Series of reviews scheduled for Waynflete proposal; Portland neighbors submit their own plan

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Series of reviews scheduled for Waynflete proposal; Portland neighbors submit their own plan

PORTLAND — A proposed plan for future growth of the Waynflete School campus will be scrutinized by two city planning authorities next week.

The Planning Board will visit the campus in Portland's Western Promenade neighborhood Oct. 6 to get a look at the residential properties the private school could eventually acquire under its proposed overlay zone.

While the public is welcome to attend the site visit, public comment will not be taken. At a meeting to discuss the school's plans earlier this month, neighbors spoke out against expansion of the Waynflete campus. The Western Promenade Neighborhood Association even presented its own overlay zone proposal to the Planning Board.

"It's a very threatening thing," said Anne Pringle, a WPNA member who helped create the association's counter proposal. "I thought the community was beyond institutions being allowed to acquire residential units. What makes Waynflete think they can?"

Waynflete's plan calls for future expansion that could include three residential buildings. Two of those buildings are duplexes, however, and the neighborhood organization's view is that the school is going after five residential properties. The addresses are 11 Fletcher St., 25 and 27 Storer St. and 10 and 12 Greyhurst Park. Waynflete proposes to keep those properties either entirely or partially residential.

While Waynflete headmaster Mark Segar said in a recent interview that the plan is a long-range one, and the identified properties would probably not be added to the campus for a decade, Pringle said that is misleading.

"They're trying to pitch this as a simple expansion policy," Pringle said. "(But) several of the houses are on the market."

The proposal by the WPNA would allow Waynflete to acquire two abutting properties: 11 Fletcher St. and 299 Danforth St. Those properties could not be used for school uses.

The neighborhood association also opposes Waynflete's proposal to allow buildings up to 50 feet within the "core" campus. Instead, the group says Waynflete should keep to the current, 35-foot height limit.

Waynflete has been working on its future growth plan for more than a year and a half and held neighborhood meetings in the spring, prior to submitting plans to the city. The school formed a Community Consultation Committee that included neighbors and city officials. 

The school is situated between Danforth and Spring streets. Some neighbors have expressed concern at previous meetings about the school detracting from a "neighborhood" feeling. While Segar said the school does not plan on enrollment growing more than 5 percent in the future and the school is not interested in providing student boarding, neighbors have been skeptical.

On Wednesday, Oct. 7, the Historic Preservation Board will get its first look at the Waynflete proposal. The workshop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in room 209 at City Hall.

The Planning Board will follow its site walk with a workshop Oct. 13 at 3:30 p.m. in room 209 at City Hall.  

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