By: Sharon Aron Baron
After being denied a recommendation by the planning and zoning board last week, charter school Somerset Parkland Academy will soon appear before the Parkland City Commission.
The commission, which meets on December 6, cannot vote for or against it based on their personal opinions about charter schools. Todd DeAngelis, spokesperson for the City of Parkland said that the special exception is at hand, and traffic would be the biggest part of that.
The proposed Somerset Parkland Academy is part of the management company, Academica. Somerset Academy has 10 campuses and 22 schools in cities like Pompano Beach, North Lauderdale, Davie, Hollywood and Pembroke Pines. If passed, the K-8 will be located at the northwest side of University Drive and Hillsboro Blvd on 10.59 acres. Last week, city staff could not make a recommendation for the school to the planning and zoning board since there were too many unanswered questions, and the board voted to deny the recommendation to the commission.
Because the city commission meeting is quasi-judicial, meaning the procedures will resemble that of a court of law, members of the commission cannot discuss the agenda prior to the meeting.
One of the most important considerations they will have is to decide how the school with 1,280 students would affect traffic. Because charter schools do not provide transportation, all traffic would arrive by car. Their traffic consultant estimates 3,174 trips per day with staggered start and end times once enrollment exceeds 850 students. DeAngelis emphasized the commission will not be comparing traffic with what’s there now.
“It isn’t a matter of how the facility and traffic impacts the area with cows. It’s how would it impact it as compared to another 110,000 square foot property,” said DeAngelis.
Residents will be free to speak during public comments. He said that if a resident wants to use their two minutes to talk about schools, that’s their opinion, however, that’s not what’s on the table for the commission, nor was it on the table for the planning and zoning board.
The city commission meeting will be held on December 6, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. commission chambers 6600 University Dr Parkland, FL 33067. Follow us on the Parkland Talk Facebook page as we will be live-streaming that night.