An application to allow a pre-school and elementary school across the street from Mercy Hospital in Coconut Grove was abruptly withdrawn on Wednesday at a hearing before the Miami Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board.
“We withdrew the application during our hearing today,” said Joan Rodriguez, owner of the Village Montessori School on Coral Way. She was under contract to buy a 100-year-old house that sits on a 3/4-acre at 1621 S. Bayshore Dr. She said the property is now going back on the market. “I was faced with ... opposition that made it financially impossible for me to continue.”
Rodriguez faced opposition from neighbors who said the project would bring a “commercial intrusion” into a residential area.
"My neighbors and I are extremely pleased that the applicant decided not to go forward,” said Lisa Treister , a Grove resident since 1983. “Residents from all corners of the Grove agreed with our position and were very vocal.”
Before the hearing, Rodriguez had gathered 400 signatures from supporters to help persuade the board to grant a “special exception” to convert a house on the site into a school serving up to 100 children aged preschool through sixth grade.
The board delayed a decision for more than six weeks, postponing a June 6 hearing based on a recommendation by the city planning staff, which wanted to study the matter further.
Treister felt that the city would have turned down the application because there was no “compelling reason to grant an exception.”
“Especially with commercial properties available nearby more appropriate for a school,” Treister said.