University of Phoenix gets nod for London Square site

By Richard Yager….
Location of the University of Phoenix at West Kendall’s London Square has been approved by a 5-0 vote of Community Council 11, acting as a Zoning Board of Appeals, despite vigorous objection from the Miami-Dade Aviation Department.

A recommendation to deny the Phoenix application without prejudice was overridden at the Sept. 6 meeting when council members were advised by attorney Jeff Bercow that the objection largely stemmed from the Aviation Department’s need to conform with FAA regulation codes as well as state and local statutes.

Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport, located directly across SW 137th Avenue from London Square, is operated by the county’s Aviation Department and governed by strict adherence to safety zone codes, declared Jose Ramos, interim division director for Planning and Land Use.

Phoenix University will occupy a portion of the third floor of the Miami Children’s Hospital medical facility, which operates in the building’s first two floors at the northeast corner of London Square.

The Heritage (K-8) School and several other private schools already exist within a five-mile radius of the end of the north runway of Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport in conflict with current zoning, Bercow noted.

Nevertheless, Ramos was adamant that regulations be observed, noting that a “within the past year, we had an incident of a crash at Opa-Locka Airport that resulted in the loss of two lives.” The incident “was one of only 15 at private county airfields recorded in 25 years since 1983,” Bercow said.

Phoenix instruction is “operated almost entirely for adults, many if not most at home with online computers, not in a classroom of children that is obviously the intent of the NSZ (No School Zone) and OSZ (Outer Safety Zone) regulatory protective requirements for a variance.”

Appearing to support the Phoenix application, London Square store manager Lorenzo Rodriguez, said, “that I’m responsible for about 100 associates, most of them young adults who would want a facility of this type to further their education, and be a real help to the economy of the local job market.”

By favorable motion of Patricia “Shannen” Davis, seconded by Miguel A. Diaz, Council 11’s Jeff Wander, Ileana Vazquez and Beatrice Suarez added “aye” votes to approve modifications of both NSZ and OSZ boundaries to permit Phoenix University a location in West Kendall.

Phoenix University in Miami-Dade currently occupies a campus building at 11410 NW 20 St., immediately north of the Dolphin Mall and adjacent Florida’s Turnpike. It has a second campus building in Plantation. The school grants associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees in business, education, healthcare, nursing, and technology fields.

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