Breaking News: Commission Ruling on Charter School

Win? Lose? Draw? You decide.

The Smart Charter Group’s  application to increase the SW 120th St. Charter  school enrollment cap to 2,250 students in grades K thru 12  was finally heard by the Miami-Dade County Commission on Thursday, May 31.  The Smart Charter  Group had well over a hundred Bridge Prep [Their School name] people turn out, many in “BP” T-shirts,   including their employees, teachers & parents of existing students from  other of their schools.  Our side had fewer, but better quality.  That is, all of our people who appeared actually live in the neighborhood and/or regularly use 120th street.  Also, almost all of our supporters actually took their “two minute” speaking time to step up to the podium & give the Commissioners an earful about the traffic as well as the safety issue of locating a school in an aiport landing/takeoff path.   The Commissioners were impressed, too,  and said they had heard these similar complaints over and over again and by their statements and questions it became apparent they were not going to give the  Smart Charter Group everything they wanted.

After 2+ hours of presentation,  petitions, statements of support & opposition by  the speakers, Commissioner Dennis Moss (in whose Commission District the school is located) proposed that the Applicant reduce its request from 2,250 to 1500, to be phased in at 300 increase per year for 3 years.  [Existing students: 600 +300 +300 + 300 = 1,500 in the 2021 school year]  All the proposed traffic modifications would be made this year.  As Commissioner  Moss pointed out, the original 2016 application was for 3,000 students, so this represents a 50% reduction.   After much discussion the Applicant accepted the proposal, and Commissioner Moss moved it be adopted.  Commissioners Monestime, Edmonson, Heyman, Sosa , Suarez and Souto voted Yes.  Commissioner, Daniella Levine Cava of District 8 where most of  the opponents of the expansion live, voted No, saying she thought thet even 1,500 was too high a number.

The SOS 120 Street Committee believes that everyone in our area owes thanks to those volunteers who assisted us in getting the word out, distributing flyers, talking, writing and e-messaging to neighbors, getting people to meetings at night.   And we have a special thanks to those who took the time from work and family to attend the Thursday Zoning hearing and stand at podium to talk directly to the County Commissioners.

For those who may be dissatisfied with the Hearing result to the point of considering legal action,  you should know that any legal appeal or action must be instituted with the courts within 30 days of the Commission action you are appealing.

SOS 120 Street Committee

Here is link to WLRN story on the commission vote, click here.

What This Site Is About


Morning on 120th Street
Afternoon on 120th Street

NOTICE OF HEARING:  On May 7th, 2018, the Board of County Commissioners published and began sending out notices of a HEARING on the Smart Charter Group application to quadruple the size of  the Bridge Prep Academy at 133 Avenue & SW 120 Street [see below for more detail] for:  Thursday, May 31st, 2018 at 9:30 am at the County Commission Chambers, 2d floor of the Stephen Clark Center 111 NW 1st Street, Miami, Florida. 

On Wednesday evening, May 30th, the night before the May 31st zoning hearing, The SOS120Street Committee and Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations (KFHA) will hold a meeting to organize and plan their appearance at the following morning’s Commission hearing.  All interested are welcome. The largest possible turnout of interested citizens o oppose the  school expansion at the zoning hearing t is the best chance we have of defeating the Smart Charter Group’s application.  The meeting will be at the Crossings Clubhouse: 11578 SW 132d Avenue, Miami, FL 33186, at 7:30 pm.


WHAT THIS SITE IS ABOUT

Smart Charter Group, LLC, is a developer of Charter Schools who has applied for a Special Exception from zoning restrictions to construct an “Aviation Charter School”  for grades K thru 12 in the West Kendall area of Miami-Dade County, Florida. The exact location  is on a 9.5 acre property on the south side of 120th Street, at 133d Avenue, East of the existing London Square Shopping Center.  They requested the Exception because the location is in a “No School Zone,” too close to Tamiami Airport. The existing zoning and use was granted to the present owners, under a 1979 zoning exception for a private school of up to 600 students. The new application filed March 21, 2018, says:

“The proposed expanded charter school will serve up to 2,250 students”

        This application effects everyone who resides in and commutes from the Southwest Kendall area.   Quadrupling of the number of students also quadruples the number of teachers and increases other staff.  The developers’ own traffic study (required for its zoning application) says this school will generate multiple  hundreds  car trips per day on 120th street,  during the peak morning and afternoon commuting hours.  Anyone who drives 120th street knows it is already over its designed capacity.  Everyone who lives in, works in, or commutes to and from West Kendall is aware that the roads in this area, 120th street especially included, are a scene of maddening gridlock in the morning and afternoon.    Commuters trying to avoid the 120th Street gridlock already spill over to 104th Street, North Kendall Drive and the arterial and neighborhood streets around them.  The original Metro-Dade Police Department Review of the Smart Charter application states:

The existing traffic conditions in the area and surrounding roads are already overtaxed. The current configuration will expose the area to an increase in the existing excessive traffic during peak times and the lack of adequate egress and access to and from the school onto arterial roadways will require law enforcement intervention in perpetuity to facilitate the movement of said traffic.

         The SOS 120TH STREET COMMITTEE was formed by residents in the surrounding subdivisions to oppose the Smart Charter Group’s application for a zoning exception to allow the school. The response to our initial meeting from area residents and commuters was so huge and so positive, that we have joined with the Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations to expand and seek further public support in opposing the expansion.  We do not oppose schools, or creating new schools.  We oppose building them where they will create traffic bottlenecks and safety concerns on over-used local and commuter roads.  There are plenty of large sites off of main commuter roads and away from airports where such schools can be built with greater safety and without causing traffic gridlock.

The entire zoning application, with exhibits, is on line at :  www.miamidade.gov/zoning .    The process/plan number is z2016000020.  For more detailed  instructions from there, go to our FAQ page.

Michael Paris, Chairman, SOS 120 Street Committee, ph: 305-975-5536

Matt Weinstein, Secretary, mattw@SOS120Street.org 

OR mattwlaw@yahoo.com