South Miami

South Miami urges county to reject re-zoning of church property

The South Miami city commission says traffic and other concerns justify its fight against a possible charter school off of Sunset Drive, and passed a resolution to say as much at its June 21 meeting.

The main item

Vice Mayor Bob Welsh sponsored a resolution urging the Miami-Dade County commission to reject the request to change existing zoning for a school on property owned by Christ Journey Church. The resolution, which passed unanimously, also amended a previous resolution.

On Sept. 9, 2015, Somerset Academy filed a variance to a 1997 county resolution to build a charter school with 2,500 students at Sunset Drive and Southwest 73rd Court. The 1997 resolution only allowed for a day nursery limited to 96 children, and prohibited schools in the area. That resolution only allows for the school to be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. But Somerset’s new proposal calls for a 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. day. A traffic study presented to the commission said that 375 students will arrive and depart on large buses. The study also says the school is committed to having 15 percent of its population bused in, but does not allow students to walk to or from the site alone. The report states the school has 24 bicycle parking spaces. No crossing guards would be provided by the school and the intersection of Sunset Drive and Southwest 74th Court would need to be controlled by a police officer.

Welsh’s resolution also mentions “the commission can only presume” the school does not provide any reduced rate or free lunches. The two-year old traffic study did not measure vehicles west of the Palmetto Expressway.

“I don’t see how a revised transportation plan is going to help keep Sunset unclogged when you add 2,500 kids getting to Christ Journey Church, the Somerset Academy there, by whatever means possible, unless its by helicopter,” Welsh said from the dais.

Other business

Assault rifles: Mayor Philip Stoddard’s resolution calling for the Florida Legislature to join other states in prohibiting the sale and possession of rapid fire and high power “assault” weapons, passed unanimously.

Trump Institute: The commission unanimously passed a resolution calling for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to reopen the investigation into the Trump Institute and any affiliated entities and individuals, appoint independent special counsel, and join the lawsuit filed with the state of New York.

Meeting rescheduled: South Miami’s schedule July 5 commission meeting has been moved to July 12.

They said it

“We received an updated letter of interest for the library property,” City Manager Steven Alexander said in his report. “I will brief each of you on this proposal at your request …but it’s still reflecting $2.5 million for the approximate third of an acre that the library occupies, but was updated by a commitment to rebuild the library at a different location. They will commit up to $300 per square foot or approximately $3.75 million in construction, assuming a 12,000 foot building. Substantial increase on that, but that’s only for the library piece. It doesn’t address the main City Hall property here.”

The next meeting

When: 7 p.m. July 12

Where: City Hall, 6130 Sunset Dr., South Miami

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