In the meantime, the application remains on hold until Somerset submits revised plans and a charter that specifies the number of students. The application may be viewed at hrld.us/17Uf9UE.
To resolve traffic problems, Somerset is considering creating two “autonomous facilities” on either side of 96th Street with more room for cars to line up when students arrive and depart, Llanes said. The change would also mean students would not cross 96th Street, which Miami-Dade school district architect Victor Alonso, who lives in the neighborhood, and county staff warned would not be allowed.
Llanes, along with Arza, Hernandez and Somerset board member Ana Diaz, assured neighbors the charter school planned on being a “good neighbor.”
“While it may not be a Kumbaya for everybody, we will certainly try to get closer to the sensibilities of everyone,” he said.
But again and again, residents complained that the two-story buildings totaling more than 100,000 square feet would ruin their tranquil neighborhood, where foxes roam backyards and residents motor around in golf carts.
“It’s all stacked against us,” said resident Barry J. White. “We can stand on our heads and spit nickels and it doesn’t make any difference.”
Residents repeatedly asked how Somerset would address traffic generated by three different schedules for elementary, middle school and high school students. Resident Harold Rifas, who works next to Somerset’s Doral Academy Preparatory School on Northwest 27th Street, brought along pictures showing cars parked on swales, in turn lanes and tying up traffic. To keep his parking spaces from filling up, he drapes a chain across his lot.
“We’re not talking about a residential neighborhood,” he said. “This is commercial and it’s mayhem.”