The readers’ forum

Pinewood Acres doesn’t need Somerset Academy Bay


Fernando Zulueta, president of Academica, wrote a glowing endorsement of his vision of education and how they are being misunderstood in the April 28 letter Academica serves some of the finest charter schools.

Regrettably, he leaves out the small points. His company routinely goes into residential neighborhoods, builds out-of-scale schools after submitting a “traffic study” that says there will be no effect on the neighborhood traffic patterns.

In virtually every neighborhood, the “traffic study” has somehow proven to be completely wrong once the school is built and cannot be undone.

Their newest venture is called Somerset Academy Bay at Pinewood Acres, located on a two-lane road that is already gridlocked during morning and afternoon rush hours and has been rated a “D” by Miami-Dade County for many years, meaning the roadway is maxed out for traffic as it exists now.

The existing school has been there for 60 years, has a permit for 290 students, and has coexisted extremely well with the surrounding neighborhood. It is nestled in an area of half-acre and acre homes that make up a highly sought-after established family-friendly neighborhood.

Into this bucolic, calm, peaceful area, Zulueta plans to drop a Walmart-type building to house 1,850 students, plus teachers and staff. His traffic study says that it will have no effect on the neighborhood to add an extra 4,000 cars a day with morning and afternoon drop-offs/pick ups, plus staff, to a road already rated “D.” You don’t have to be a traffic engineer to know that is a crazy contention.

With help from legislators like Miami-Dade Reps. Manny Diaz, Jr. and Erik Fresen, who both benefit financially from Academica, Zulueta’s deep-pocketed company, Somerset, has rolled over neighborhood after neighborhood in an empire-building quest to replace public schools with charter schools.

My neighborhood is not against him or the empire that he wants to build.

It is where he wants to build it is the problem. Build it where it fits, not where it destroys the quality of life built up over 60 years, simply because you have high-priced lawyers and local legislators and can use your political and financial muscle against neighborhoods that have little chance of stopping you.

Leave Pinewood Acres at 290 students, and take the other 1,560 students somewhere that can handle that kind of influx of traffic and congestion.

We hope that the County Commission rejects this attempt to destroy yet another peaceful neighborhood.

Dean Richardson, Miami

Read more Letters to the Editor stories from the Miami Herald

  • The readers’ forum

    All eyes turn to Florida’s gubernatorial debate

    When it comes to election time, one state is almost certain to garner national attention.

My drawing of Mr. Wyroba in 1978.

    Tribute to a teacher

    Re the Aug. 28 obituary Thomas Wyroba, 64, beloved teacher at Miami’s New World of the Arts.

  • Dismal voting day

    A lone voter at 9:30 a.m. faced 16 poll workers at the Coral Gables Congregational Church, where four precincts were open on Election Day. As this was only a primary, there were no long lines.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category