If you are here, it is probably because you have heard or read about an application from Smart Charter Group, LLC, 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 exception for a private school of up to 600 students. The new application says:
“The applicant intends to convert the existing private school into an aviation charter school, and expand enrollment to 3,000 students, by way of Special Exception.”
This application effects everyone who resides in and commutes from the Southwest Kendall area. The developers’ own traffic study (required for its zoning application) says this school will generate an additional 7,400 car trips per day on 120th street. Much of it will be during the peak morning commuting hours. 120th 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. 120th Street is a particular problem because it is the only entrance to, and exit from, the Florida Turnpike South of No. Kendall Drive and North of SW 152d Street. Commuters trying to avoid the 120th Street gridlock already spill over to 104th Street, No. Kendall Drive and the arterial and neighborhood streets around them. The 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 the Miami-Dade County site: www.miamidade.gov/rer/track/case_track.aspx
Once at that site you can type in the name of the applicant: Smart Charter Group, LLC or type in the Process number: Z2016000020
Michael Paris, Chairman
Matt Weinstein, Outreach Sub Committee;
phone: 305-271-0465;e-mail: mattw@SOS120Street.org OR firstname.lastname@example.org