A proposed charter school for up to 1,020 elementary school children in Lutz is drawing opposition from the Lutz Citizens Coalition and area residents.
Charter Schools Inc. of Boca Raton has filed a request with Hillsborough County for a special use permit to allow a school on 8.4 acres of agricultural land at the southwest quadrant of Lutz Lake Fern Road and Sunlake Boulevard.
A public hearing on the request has been delayed from Dec. 15 to Jan. 20.
Plans show a two-phase project. The first phase includes a two-story building with 33 classrooms for 650 students. The second phase calls for a two-story building, with 20 classrooms for 370 children. The school would serve kindergarten through eighth grade.
The plans also show a storm water pond, a playground, and areas for parking for both vehicles and bicycles. Plans also call for basketball courts.
The application notes that any spillage of light from recreational areas will be kept to a minimum.
Public water and sewer lines are located within the Sunlake Boulevard right of way, according to the application.
Mike White, president and founder of the Lutz Citizens Coalition, said opposition to the proposal is mounting.
“It’s an inappropriate location,” White said. “It’s cramming 10 pounds into a five-pound bag.”
The coalition is a volunteer organization that works with neighborhood and community groups on zoning, environmental and other issues. It played a leading role in fighting Learning Gate’s proposed use of a site near U.S. 41 and Sunset Lane for a middle and high school.
Much like the site at Sunset, the proposed site at Sunlake and Lutz Lake Fern is not a good choice for a school, White said. Both roads are two lanes, which are not equipped to handle the kind of traffic that the project would produce.
Beyond traffic, there are concerns about flooding and the other impacts that a school would have on nearby residential development, White said.
“There’s going to be a huge fight on this,” he said.
Despite their opposition to the Learning Gate proposal and to the proposed location of the charter elementary school, the coalition is not against schools in general, White said. If the applicant chose an appropriate spot for a school, they would wholeheartedly support it.
Representatives for the applicant did not respond to a request to comment as of press time.
Published December 10, 2014
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