Proposed private school enrollment increases raise new traffic issues

The impact on traffic by private school enrollment expansion has became an issue of rezoning requests at the Children’s Resources campus, SW 87th Avenue and 112th Street, and Our Lady of the Rosary School off SW 107th Avenue at 95th Street.

Both Kendall schools, which have existed in their locations for more than 30 years, are seeking changes in existing covenants to permit new grade levels, raising enrollment numbers.

Public hearings on both applications scheduled for Apr. 14 were deferred by Community Council 12 during its meeting in the Civic Pavilion at Kendall Village Center.

Children’s Resources, nestled in an upscale Killian single-family neighborhood at 8571 SW 112 St., has asked approval for the addition of kindergarten through grade 6 elementary levels to its current nursery and pre-school services.

The expansion would not increase its enrollment above a maximum 104 students, already approved in the existing covenant, according to Roxana Rapaport, executive director, who noted the current enrollment runs in the mid-70s.

Nevertheless, Ken Sommer voiced objections by nearby residents during a half-hour filmed sequence displaying traffic violations by school buses and motorists, and multiple sign postings he termed illegal.

Due to an omission affecting a canopy placement for the revised site plan, Council 12, acting as a zoning board, was required to call a second hearing at “a later date” to determine if traffic problems or a change in operating hours (beginning school at 7:30 a.m. instead of the current 8 a.m.) might scuttle the application.

“We don’t know what the effect of even small increases will have on the surrounding neighborhood,” declared veteran council member Peggy Brodeur who wanted advice from the county planning staff on traffic issues, although the covenant changes would not increase the Children’s Resource permitted enrollment size.

Problems with traffic also face Our Lady of the Rosary School which sought and received a deferral of its hearing until May 12 for enrollment of up 150 (grades K-5) students not requiring any new building at its three-building campus on 2.48 acres.

The school is located just north of Miami Dade College’s Kendall Campus and the intersection of SW 107th Avenue and the Shula Expressway (SR874) interchange at SW 104th Street along a busy mixed residential and commercial thoroughfare.

Changes in existing zoning resolutions should require a traffic study to justify sufficiency for accumulating increased automobile parking, according to an attached objection by Raul Pino, chief of Miami-Dade Planning and Review Section.

He also noted a need for a vehicle turnaround area with a minimum 15-foot turning radius, as well as revised exit maneuverability in a passenger loading zone.

His commentary conflicts with the analysis by the Miami-Dade Regulatory and Economic Resources staff that “opines that approval…will not create a negative impact on traffic on the abutting roadways.”

In the single agenda item not postponed, the board by a vote of 4-1 (Brodeur dissenting) approved the Regulatory Department’s Bird Road Design and Industrial Overlay District, a 155-acre area, generally south of SW 40th (Bird Road) and west of 70th Avenue.

The overlay document in the making since 2009 provides new parking, landscaping and occupancy requirements for industrial and commercial establishments throughout the area known as the “Bird Road Art District.”

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