Pinewood charter school protest expected at commission meeting


A continuing protest against location of a charter school on the grounds of Pinewood Acres School at 9500 SW 97 Ave. is anticipated at a Miami-Dade County Commission public hearing on June 23, 9:30 a.m., in Commission Chambers at the Steven P. Clark Center Government Center, 111 NW First St.

The East Kendall Homeowners Association again has asked its members to protest the school in a Website notice headed “Help Halt Expansion” and Kendale HOA members who previously registered objections were alerted to the hearing date during over the Memorial Day weekend.

For the past 60 years, Pinewood has been owned and operated by the Leone family which signed a five-year lease-to-purchase with Somerset Academy. The proposal drew heavy opposition when initial plans were disclosed in 2013 to build a pre-K to grade 12 school in a two-story building on the property.

First revised to reduce the maximum enrollment to 1,850, plans later were submitted in 2014 for a K-8 school accommodating up to 1,260 and eliminating the high school grades.

In an email message on Apr. 19, Jorge Vital, coordinator of the Development Impact Committee for the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources, stated “the recommendation from the department is for denial without prejudice,” a finding that would allow re-submission within 18 months.

County zoning staff members, responding to an inquiry on May 27, reported that a recommendation had yet to be transmitted by the Planning Review Board but was expected within a week to 10 days.

A low profile school of one-story buildings clustered on wooded campus, the current Pinewood Acres School serves some 200 pre-K to grade 6 students.

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