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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Fight over Ben Gamla Charter in Hallandale Beach put off 'till Fall

Friday May 15th, 2009

Stopped off at Hallandale Beach City Hall on Friday
afternoon, just before 4 p.m., and was told by HB
Planning & Zoning Dept. head Christy Dominguez
that, as of today, Ben Gamla Hebrew Charter
School will be going back to the HB P&Z in Sept.
or October, and that there would be no other formal
city meetings of any sort dealing with them in the
interim, including Wednesday afternoon's
regularly-scheduled City Commission meeting.

The prospect of it being discussed then has made
lots of people in this city quite angry at the perception
that this proposal was being rushed through by
City Hall, without a full-and-adequate airing in
public of the plan and its myriad problems, and
the logical negative consequences that will follow
for the neighborhood and the greater HB
community if it's eventually approved and built
as currently planned, the most obvious one being
crazy, crazy traffic.

(Yes, Dominguez is yet another HB Dept. head
whose official city email DOES NOT currently
appear on the city's own website, like the new
DPW director, John Chidsey, who didn't know
that his email address was still invisible after
he'd already been here for over two months,
and only because I brought it to his attention
in an email I sent to him via other HB Dept.
directors, about numerous longstanding
concerns and problems associated with DPW,
in particular the conditions at the public
beach, practices employed there, and the
city's refusal to make good on past promises
about it.
Well, Chidsey's email address suddenly
appeared on the city's website the day after
my email, but he has still NOT contacted me
about my initial concerns in the roughly
five weeks since.
No wonder HB taxpayers resent paying over
$3,000 a month to the folks at Civic Plus
for the city's hopelessly backward and inept
website!)

Dominguez also stated that, as of now, she is
not aware of any plans for Ben Gamla to have
another "community meeting" with neighbors,
though that could always change, since that's now
en Gamla's call, not the city's, now that they had
the public meeting the city insisted upon during the
P&Z meeting on April 22nd.

Well, that meeting was held last on May 4th, at the
Hallandale Jewish Center, which very few city
residents knew anything about, and which I only
found out about thru HB civic activist Arturo
O'Neill.
Present at the meeting from City hall were
City Manager Good, Mayor Cooper and
Commissioners Julian and Sanders.

The first thing that Arturo mentioned to me
about what he observed were that the residents
of the immediate neighborhood turned out in
large numbers and were quite irate.

It seemed to Arturo, at least, that Ben Gamla
didn't have many materials to share with the
public, nor did they seem to have many specific
answers to a lot of the public's questions, which
was supposed to be the whole point of the exercise
in the first place.

He also mentioned that the officials at the
Hallandale Jewish Center messed with the
A/C in order to make the room more uncomfortable,
and actually induce people to leave!
In retrospect, the so-called community meeting
clearly should've taken place at a neutral site,
like the HB Community Cultural Center behind
City Hall, which would've ensured plenty of space,
including for any materials on tables or drawings
or renderings on easels -and no A/C shenanigans!

Oh, and there's one more very important thing
that Arturo told me:
only 15% of the kids admitted to a school
physically located in Hallandale Beach
would actually be from Hallandale Beach.
Yes, you read that right.

From my p.o.v., this only further buttresses my
central contention from the start that Ben Gamla's
possible entry into the city is more akin to a
marketing maneuver than anything else, with the
eventual goal being to lure students from Aventura,
Sunny Isles, Golden Beach and North Miami Beach,
than an honest forthright attempt by them to give
kids and parents of this city some meaningful
options and tools they can use.

That's especially the case for the HB kids who are
currently at academically-troubled Hallandale
High School, and the HB parents of middle-school
kids who aren't exactly thrilled about the prospect
of sending their own kids there.

I personally happen to believe that the kids and
parents of this city deserve MUCH better than that,
and that they deserve real tangible choices with
positive consequences.
The sooner the better!

When I pressed Dominguez for details about how
that particular "community meeting" came to take
place with so few city residents actually knowing
about it -despite the mayor's contentions
that anyone who subscribes to the city's
email notifications should've heard about it-
she really couldn't say much to connect-the-dots
on that question.

I told her that my questions were intended in
large part to help prevent a repeat performance
in a few months, since I have heard from and
spoken to literally DOZENS of people all
throughout the HB community who only heard
about the meeting on May 4th at the Hallandale
Jewish Center after-the-fact, and they were
none-too-pleased.

In fact, it would be fair to say that among the more
cynical among those I've talked to over the past
few days, there's a very strong belief that it was
a deliberate and premeditated attempt by HB
City Hall to keep the community at-large in the dark.

I don't have anything in particular to base this on,
but there are other people besides myself who are
wondering if the strange moves by Ben Gamla,
i.e waiting until the Fall instead of pressing ahead,
after they already thought they'd gotten past the
P&Z threshold, is a sign that Deutsch & Co. are
having problems with securing financing for any
school construction, since other media have
previously reported that their goal was to be
open in Hallandale Beach for August 2010.

Another important aspect of this issue that I
wanted to bring to your attention now, is that
even while Mayor Cooper is, for now, publicly
chalking this all up as a simple mistake by the
city's Development Services office, the actual
numbers involved are FAR WORSE for the
neighborhood and city than was said after the
mistake was made public.

In an email that I sent out last week to some
people I know here in town, as well as folks who
have contacted me about this issue, and some
print and electronic reporters, I characterized that
mistake this way in describing my own plans that
particular day:
"A few hours later, here in HB, I'll be involved in
the fight against the application of Ben Gamla
Hebrew Charter School, where they will
attempt to shoehorn 800 kids and 35 classrooms
into a single-family residential neighborhood
where neighbors were first told last month by
the city and the school that it would be, in fact,
250 kids and 10 classrooms.
Ooops!"

Well, last night, while letting my fingers do the
walking thru the internet, I discovered on a
City of HB document, Development Services
March 2009 Monthly Report, that it's actually
EVEN MORE kids and classrooms than the
neighborhood or public were led to believe by
the city.
Even more than the mayor has publicly
admitted so far.


On March 6, 2009, the Development Review Committee considered the following projects:
2nd Review) Application #28-09-CU by Ben Gamla Charter School review of proposal for
36 classrooms to accommodate 852 students, 1241 sq. ft. building located at 416 NE 8th Avenue.

Wow, 852 kids!
In a single-family residential neighborhood in HB.
Single-family residential neighborhood on three sides.

Let those numbers swirl around your head
for a bit as you digest them.

Late this afternoon, a friend and I drove around
the neighborhood where the Hallandale Jewish
Center is located, and when you're actually there,
trust me, the 852 number seems even more
preposterous as far as the physics of space and traffic
goes.

Especially when you know that the school would
be K-12, not K-8, as many people in the neighborhood
and around the city initially thought.
Yes, high school kids.

Another person in the city who is surprisingly
misinformed about this issue is Mayor Joy
Cooper herself, as proven by her so-called
Sun-Times column this week titled,
Putting the final touches on Foster Road
Park; charter school is a major subject
in the community,

She writes, in part:
There was another special community meeting
that took place last week at the Hallandale
Jewish Center in the Northeast section.
This meeting was hosted by the new owner of
the property to discuss the future plans for a
k-8 charter school. Currently the building is
home to an old temple congregation whose
membership has dwindled from over 2,000
members to a little fewer than 200.
They sold the property to the Ben Galma School.
The zoning currently would allow for a church
or other religious institution to move in. The
school is seeking special use permit to allow
for up to an 800 seat school. As with any
redevelopment the key issue is traffic. During
the meeting many residents stressed their
concerns over the impacts of the cars coming
and going, stacking in the streets and parking
on private property.

As you can see for yourself, she says 8, not 12.
Yes, high school students, not just little kids.
See, it's not my imagination.

Yet at the April 22nd, HB P&Z meeting, the same
one where Ben Gamla founder Peter Deutsch
himself said that they'd welcome students from
Miami-Dade County, he said it would, in fact,
be K-12, which clearly caught some residents
off-guard, even those who might've otherwise
been predisposed to support it.
In fact, it was right there in the documents.
(Someone in the crowd actually asked
what the "K" stood for!)

Because the mayor constantly says things that
are simply NOT factually true, and often can't
accurately repeat back what she has just heard
moments before, I stopped by City Hall to see
if that error she made about K-8 was the only
one she made.

Below are a few photographs I took the day
following the April 22nd HB P&Z meeting
where Ben Gamla was the first agenda item.

Note: currently, N,E. 8th Avenue is a two-lane
south-bound road, about two blocks east of
U.S.-1/South Federal Highway.

Above, looking east at the entrance of the Hallandale Jewish Center at 416 NE 8th Avenue,
with the yellow Notice sign in front. April 23, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier


Looking north on N.E. 8th Avenue from just south of the main building.
April 23, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier


Looking east towards the south end of the Hallandale Jewish Center.
April 23, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier


Looking southeast towards the existing parking lot south of the main building.
April 23, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier


Looking southwest from the main building across N.E. 8th Avenue
April 23, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier


Looking northwest from the mian building, across N.E. 8th Avenue.
April 23, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier


As it happens, I specifically brought-up the Dept.'s
chronic inability to give proper notice at the March
PNZ meeting I attended, and ripped them for their
chronic slack procedures that cause taxpayers to be
the LAST ONES to know what's going on.
Why should the applicants have all weekend
to prepare for something scheduled the
following Wednesday that city residents
can only find out about on Monday morning,
about 52 hours before the meeting?

At last month's PNZ meeting, where Ben Gamla Charter
Charter was one of the two agenda items, the actual
agenda was NOT printed and posted on the Public
Notice board at HB City Hall in advance of the meeting?

Me being me, I always double-check that sort of thing,
and I was not at all surprised to find the city in violation
of existing laws and rules regarding public notice.

I mentioned that troubling fact to the P&Z's Comm.'s
chair, Arnold Cooper as soon as he walked into the
Chambers before the meeting started, but he evinced
a 'who cares' attitude about it all.
Needless to say, it was still not there when the meeting
ended.

That's yet another typical example of City Attorney
David Jove and City Manager Mike Good's inability
to provide basic, proper oversight, and Mayor Cooper
being deaf, dumb and blind to what's going on around
her, as she has been the case for years.
'What else is new' in a city where inappropriate or illegal
behavior and conduct is continually winked at.

Yet when Comm. Keith London spoke weeks earlier
"as a citizen" before the PNZ after another excellent
presentation by EDAW's Donald Shockey of the city's
Master Plan he helped craft, HB City Attorney David
Jove literally ran down from his upstairs city hall
office and sprinted onto the dais, and was his usual
condescending self, lecturing everyone in the room
and via cable TV about what the city's rules were
about elected officials speaking before advisory
boards.
Perhaps at the behest of Mayor Cooper and City
Manager Good upstairs, watching on TV?
They say "jump" and Jove says "how high?"

For those of you who were not aware of it,
prior to the April 22nd P&Z meeting, according
to the city's own staffers, Ben Gamla's application
was inconsistent for a waiver at least six times.
(See city documents at bottom.)

To me, this sounds a lot like the Miami Belen Jesuit
Preparatory School situation!

The old Hallandale City Hall site on the west side
of the FEC tracks and SE 3rd Street -across the
street from Peter Bluesten Park- is less than
a ten-minute walk from the present City Hall on
U.S.-1, and has long been the site that I personally
thought would make the most sense as the possible
site of a successful, inclusive charter school, or
other TOD, transit-oriented development,
that is entitled to special zoning and funding
considerations that most other places in the city
are not.

Starting in 1916, when the city's population was
between 600-900 and consisted mainly of farmers,
especially tomato farmers, it was the site of the
second school in the city.
Right now, as has been the case for years,
it's completely empty.

Here, you can even see a great example of the kind
of longstanding City Hall apathy and inattention to
detail that I've decried here on this blog and in
person, the lack of long-term planning and the
general indifference to public safety in Hallandale
Beach, courtesy of Google's Street View photo
of the area from December 2007.

(The speed limit sign to your right on the
pole is almost completely obscured.
It's MUCH WORSE now!)

This property is described thusly on the city
website's "Current Development Activity" list
of July 2008:

ASPEX EYEWARE, 308 SOUTH DIXIE HIGHWAY

OWNER/DEVELOPER – Manhattan Realty Group, Apex Eyeware,
701 West Cypress Creek Road, #302, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33009
DESCRIPTION – Proposal to build a three story office/warehouse distribution building
for APEX Eyeware with 120,000 square feet of storage and 30,000 square feet of
commercial use at the old City Hall site.

Aventura Waterways K-8 Center, which has
a focus on marine biology and marine ecosystems,
is just down the street at 21101 N.E. 26th Avenue,
which is one block west of Dixie Hwy.,
behind Aventura Hospital.
----------------------------------------
My emphasis below in red.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CITY OF HALLANDALE BEACH, FLORIDA
MEMORANDUM
DATE: April 13, 2009
TO: Planning and Zoning Board
FROM: Christy Dominguez, Director of Planning and Zoning
THRU: Richard D. Cannone, Director of Development Services
SUBJECT: Applications #28-09-CU and # 29-09-V
Ben Gamla Charter School, 416 NE 8th Avenue
________________________________________________________________
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
________________________________________________________________
APPLICANT:
Hallandale School, LLC
d/b/a Ben Gamla Charter School
REQUEST:
The applicant is requesting a Conditional Use Permit and a Variance in order to operate a public charter school at the existing Hallandale Jewish Center located at 416 NE 8th Avenue.
The applications are as follows:
a. Application # 28-09-CU requesting a Conditional Use Permit to operate a charter school in a residential single family zoning district pursuant to Section 32-152(c)(2) of the City’s Zoning and Land Development Code.
b. Application # 29-09-V requesting a Variance from Section 32-152(c)(2) of the City’s Zoning and Land Development Code in order to provide outdoor play equipment closer than 50 feet from any adjacent residential use.
LOCATION:
The property is located at 416 NE 8th Avenue.
PLANNING DISTRICT:
Northeast
Z:\Shared Planning Documents\Conditional Use Permits\Ben Gamla Charter School\Hallandale School#29-09-V-Staff
Report-Draft.doc

Ben Gamla Charter School, Hallandale School, LLC (dba)
Application #28-09-CU and #29-09-V
April 13, 2009
Page 2 of 11

PARCEL SIZE:
82,900 square feet or 1.90 acres
EXISTING ZONING:
RD-12 Residential Two-Family (Duplex) District
EXISTING USE:
Hallandale Jewish Center (synagogue house of worship)
PROPOSED USE:
Synagogue and public charter school
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN FUTURE LAND USE DESIGNATION: City: Low Density Residential County: Low Density Residential
SURROUNDING ZONING:
N: RS-6 (Residential Single-Family District)
S: RS-6 (Residential Single-Family District)
E: RS-6 (Residential Single-Family District)
W: RD-12 (Residential Two-Family District) and PRD (Planned Redevelopment Overlay District)
SURROUNDING LAND USE:
N: City owned vacant lots for a future park and single family homes
S: Single-Family Residential
E: Single-Family Residential
W: Multi-Family Residential


Ben Gamla Charter School, Hallandale School, LLC (dba)
Application #28-09-CU and #29-09-V
April 13, 2009
Page 3 of 11
_______________________________________________________________
RELATED LAND USE HISTORY
________________________________________________________________
On June 27,2007 the Planning and Zoning Board considered Application # 49-07-CU by Ben Gamla Charter School requesting a Conditional Use Permit pursuant to Section 32-152(c)(2) in order to operate a charter school with 200 students in 10 classrooms at the subject property. After consideration, the Board recommended approval of the application to the City Commission by a vote of 5 to 0. Prior to scheduling the matter for the City Commission hearing, the applicant decided not to proceed with the project and withdrew the application.
________________________________________________________________
DETAILS OF THE APPLICATION/EXHIBITS
________________________________________________________________
The applicant’s site plan depicts the following :
1. An existing site plan and boundary survey showing:
a.) An existing one story building with a 19,778 sq. ft. in floor area.
b.) 121 existing parking spaces with 5 handicap parking spaces.
c.) A total of 10 existing trees on site.
d.) Existing landscape area of 16.82%
2. A Letter of Intent which outlines in detail the proposed school; curriculum;
hours of operation hours with drop-off and pick-up times, routes; and site
improvements.
3. A Proposed Site Plan reflecting proposed changes as follows:
a.) Renovation of the existing building to add a second floor area to the building with 7,842 sq.ft. to be used for the proposed charter school.The Hallandale Jewish Center will occupy 680 square feet of office space on the ground floor.
b.) A proposed parking lot with 63 parking spaces (a total of 63 spaces are required for the school and synagogue office use which would operate during the same time of day).
c.) Accessible pedestrian crosswalks with planted parking islands and increased buffer strips.
d.) A proposed vehicle pick-up and drop-off loop internal to the site approximately 823 feet in length for stacking of up to 37 vehicles.

Ben Gamla Charter School, Hallandale School, LLC (dba)
Application #28-09-CU and #29-09-V
April 13, 2009
Page 4 of 11
e.) A proposed basketball court play area in the southwest corner of the site setback 50 feet from the south and 30 feet from the east adjacent residential use( A minimum of 50 feet setback is required).
f.) Proposed landscape area of 25.37% (16.82% is existing)
g.) A proposed floor plan with 35 classrooms to be used for a maximum of 800 students for the charter school.
h.) Installation of 59 trees and palms(53 Gumbo Limbo and 6 Royal Palms).Presently, there are10 trees on the property. (56 trees are required by Code).
i.) A proposed metal canopy on the north side of the building setback 12.6 feet from the north property line.
j.) Two wall signs with 63 sq feet each identifying the charter school.
_______________________________________________________________
INTERDEPARTMENTAL REVIEW SUMMARY
________________________________________________________________
The Development Review Committee (DRC) met to discuss and review the proposal. The applicant addresses the majority of Code deficiencies, comments or concerns raised by the Committee and the majority of such comments are incorporated into the Development Plan. Also, the applicant has assured the City’s Fire Marshal and Building Official that the school will meet all life-safety and building code related items necessary to obtain occupancy permits. The Committee recommended approval of the application subject to conditions as enumerated under Staff Recommendations.
________________________________________________________________
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN CONSIDERATIONS
This request is consistent with the City’s Comprehensive Plan as schools are permitted within the Low Density Residential Land Use Category.

APPLICABLE CODES AND ORDINANCES
1.) Section 32-152(c)(2) requires a Conditional Use Permit be approved by the City Commission in order to operate a school in the RS-6 Residential Single-Family District provided that no play equipment is located less than 50-feet from any adjacent residential use and that educational activities are of a secondary level or below with curriculum substantially similar to that of a general public school curriculum.

Ben Gamla Charter School, Hallandale School, LLC (dba)
Application #28-09-CU and #29-09-V
April 13, 2009
Page 5 of 11

The applicant is proposing to operate a public charter school, therefore, a conditional use permit is required. The applicant’s Letter of Intent discusses the details of the proposed charter school curriculum; its similarity with Broward County Public School curriculum, and that the school will be for kindergarten through twelfth grade thereby meeting the
above referenced code criteria. The school and accessory structures meet the Code requirements except the proposed basketball court in the southwest corner of the property. The basketball court would be setback 50 feet from the south residential use property meeting the code requirement. However, it would be setback 30 feet from the east to the residential use property resulting in a 20 foot deficiency. Therefore, in addition to the Conditional Use Permit, the applicant also requires a variance from the above referenced provision.

2.) Section 32-455 (c)(2) requires staff to review parking requirements of existing development that undergo changes in use, redevelopment, or expansion. The “Administrative Parking Standards Document” for the City requires 1 parking space for every 3 seats of a house of worship and one parking pace for every 250 square feet of office. The Code does not specify the number of parking spaces required for schools. Therefore, the State Requirements for Florida Educational Facilities was applied which requires the following parking for kindergarten thru 12th grade:

Staff parking – One space per staff member (teachers and administrative staff)

Visitor Parking- One space per 100 students

High School Component- One space per 10 student in 11th and 12th grade

The applicant is proposing to operate a 35 classroom charter school and continue with the existing synagogue for a portion of the building. The applicant has indicated that the maximum capacity of the school will be 800 students. The school will have a total staff of 42 including teachers and administrative staff members. Therefore, the total parking required for the school is 60 parking spaces. The synagogue will operate 680 square feet of office use during the week requiring an additional 3 spaces. The combined required parking for both uses is a total of 63 parking spaces. The applicant provides a total of 63 parking spaces, thereby meeting code including the synagogue office use. The synagogue assembly use will have 183 seats. Based on the above referenced criteria, 61 spaces would be required for the assembly use. The total parking required if all uses operated at the same time would be 124 spaces. However, the applicant has indicated the synagogue assembly use will not operate during the school hours.

Ben Gamla Charter School, Hallandale School, LLC (dba)
Application #28-09-CU and #29-09-V
April 13, 2009
Page 6 of 11

3.) Section 32-452 (b)(2) allows for shared usage of required parking spaces for two separate permitted uses when it is clearly established by the applicant that these two uses will primarily utilize these spaces at different times of the day, week, month or year. If approved, a recorded covenant is required.

The applicant’s Letter of Intent outlines how the charter school and synagogue will be used at different times. The school will be used Monday through Friday from 7:30AM until 4:00PM. The synagogue is primarily used on Friday evenings and Saturday. Since the two uses are primarily used at different times of the week, the applicant is requesting approval of shared usage of parking. The parking required for both the charter school (60 spaces) and the synagogue’s office use (3 spaces) is 63 which meets code. The total parking available is 63 spaces while the school and the synagogue office use only is in operation. The applicant will be required to submit a recordable covenant to the City as specified by the above-mentioned section providing for shared parking.

4.) Section 32-384 (a)(7) requires all public and institutional uses to have a minimum of 25% landscape area.
The existing landscaping on site is only 13,950 sq. ft. or 16.82% thus, nonconforming to above referenced requirement. The applicant proposes to increase the landscaping to 25.37% thereby reducing the present deficiency of the existing conditions on site and meeting the present code requirement.

5.) Section 32-384 (c)(3) requires all properties to provide 1 tree for each 1,500 square feet of total property. The minimum tree height for properties zoned residential is 10 feet.
Presently, there are 10 trees on site. Based on the above criteria, 56 trees are required for the property. The applicant is proposing 59 trees (53 Gumbo Limbos and 6 Royal Palms) and palms to meet the tree requirement. The specified tree planting size of 10 feet meets the minimum code requirement.

6.) Section 32-605 (5) sign code, permits one wall sign, awning or movement sign 20 sq.feet in sign area sign for permitted principal nonresidential uses.
The applicant’s plans depict two proposed wall signs with 63 square feet per sign. The applicant has been advised that the proposal does not meet Code and has agreed to revise the signage proposal to conform to Code. Therefore, a variance is not requested from the above referenced provision.

Ben Gamla Charter School, Hallandale School, LLC (dba)
Application #28-09-CU and #29-09-V
April 13, 2009
Page 7 of 11
_______________________________________________________________
APPLICATION CRITERIA
________________________________________________________________
CONDITIONAL USE
ARTICLE VIII, SECTION 32-964 - Applications for conditional uses shall be reviewed with consideration given to the following:

(1) That the use is compatible with the existing natural environment and other properties within the neighborhood.
Consistent. The proposed charter school is compatible with the existing house of worship and surrounding area.

(2) That the use will create no substantial detrimental effects on property values in the neighborhood.
Consistent. The proposed charter school will be housed within the
existing house of worship. The applicant is proposing to improve the parking layout, vehicular circulation, landscaping and buffering on the property.

(3) That there are adequate public facilities such as schools, roads, parks, and utilities within the service areas involved.
Consistent. There are adequate facilities in place. The proposed use is a school which will provide an additional school facility for grades kindergarten through 12th.

(4) That there will be adequate provisions for the traffic movement, both vehicular and pedestrian, both internal to the use and in the area which will serve the use.

Consistent. The applicant has provided a plan with proper traffic circulation for vehicular movement to and from the site. The applicant’s Letter of Intent indicates the school day will begin at 8AM with students arriving between 7:30 and 7:45AM. The school day will end at 3:30PM and students will be dismissed during three dismissal times – 2:30, 3:00PM and 3:30PM. The proposed pick-up and drop-off loop is 823 feet in length and accommodates 37 vehicles at any given time. Vehicles will be required to
enter the site from NE 5th Street loop through the site and exit onto NE 8th Street heading south. The applicant has supplied information about stacking standards from other area schools in Broward and Miami-Dade

Ben Gamla Charter School, Hallandale School, LLC (dba)
Application #28-09-CU and #29-09-V
April 13, 2009
Page 8 of 11

County. The information shows that a 37 stacking spaces for a school of 850 students exceeds similar facilities.

(5) That there will be adequate drainage systems to service the use with particular attention to the necessity for on-site retention systems to alleviate drainage and pollution problems.
Consistent. Existing parking with 2 on site catch basins are in place. The applicant is proposing to increase landscaping and buffering around the property which will improve drainage for the site. At the time of resurfacing, the City Engineer will determine if additional on site drainage is necessary.

(6) That there are adequate setbacks, buffering, and general amenities in order to control any adverse effects of noise, light, dust, and other nuisances.
Consistent. The proposed site plan meets Code criteria for setbacks and buffering with the exception of the proposed basketball court for which a variance has been requested.

(7) That the land area is sufficient, appropriate and adequate for the use and for any reasonably anticipated expansion thereof.
Consistent.

(8) Any other conditions as may be stipulated and made a requirement in granting any application for a conditional use, when it is considered necessary to further the intent and general welfare, including but not limited to:
a.) Limitations on the hours of business operations.
b.) Limitations on the number of occupants of any building at any one time.
The applicant has indicated that the charter school will be used by a maximum of 800 students and associated staff between the hours of 7:30AM until 6PM Monday through Thursday and 7:30AM until 4:00PM on Fridays.

VARIANCE CRITERIA
In review of an application for variances, the following standards shall be observed in making any decisions or recommendations:

Ben Gamla Charter School, Hallandale School, LLC (dba)
Application #28-09-CU and #29-09-V
April 13, 2009
Page 9 of 11

Section 32-965 Variances: A variance to the terms of the this code that will not be contrary to the public interest where, due to special conditions, a literal enforcement of the provisions of the code will result in unnecessary and undue
hardship may be granted by the City Commission in compliance with the requirements of this code.
In order to authorize any variances to the terms of the City Code, it must be found that:

1. That special conditions and circumstances exists which are peculiar to the land, structure, or building involved, and which are not generally applicable to other lands, structures, or buildings in the same zoning district.
Inconsistent. No special conditions or circumstances exist which are peculiar to the applicant’s land and building, which are not generally applicable to other lands or buildings in the same zoning district.

2. That the special conditions and circumstances do not result from the actions of the applicant.
Inconsistent. The applicant’s justification for the variance is based upon a need to provide recreational equipment for the school’s student body in close proximity to residential. It is not a result of any special conditions or circumstances relative to the land, structure, or building.

3. That granting the variance requested will not confer on the applicant any special privilege that is denied by the Code to other lands, buildings, or structures in the same district.
Inconsistent. The granting of the variance to allow the basketball court with a deficiency of 20 feet from the required distance separation will confer upon the applicant a special privilege that is customarily prohibited by Code, to other lands, buildings, or schools in the same zoning district.

4. That literal interpretation of the provisions of the Code would deprive the applicant of rights commonly enjoyed by other properties in the same zoning district under the terms of the Code and would work unnecessary and undue hardships on the applicants.
Inconsistent. Literal interpretation of the Code will not deprive the applicant of rights commonly enjoyed by other properties in the same zoning district and will not cause unnecessary and undue hardship on the applicant. As noted, all properties in the same zoning district are

Ben Gamla Charter School, Hallandale School, LLC (dba)
Application #28-09-CU and #29-09-V
April 13, 2009
Page 10 of 11

required to adhere to the standards set forth by Code or apply for variance to demonstrate the nature of the request. The charter school could operate without the proposed basketball court.

(5) That the variance granted is the minimum variance that will make possible the reasonable use of the land, building or structure.
Inconsistent. The variance requested is not the minimum variance that will make possible reasonable use of the land or building. The requested variance does not meet the criteria established by Code. The property could be used reasonably as a passive recreational area which is not subject to distance separation.

(6) That the granting of the variance will be in harmony with the general intent and purpose of the Code.
Inconsistent. The general intent of the Code is to provide distance separation of certain uses activities which may have adverse effects on nearby residential areas.

(7) That such a variance will not be injurious to the area involved of otherwise detrimental to the public welfare.

(8) Consistent, the variance will not be injurious to the area involved or otherwise detrimental to the public welfare subject to conditions of staff.
________________________________________________________________
STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS
Section 32-152 (c)(2) permits public schools in RS-6 District by a Conditional Use Permit. The applicant has provided a detailed plan to operate the school in a manner which minimizes impacts to neighboring properties. In addition, the applicant is upgrading parking, landscaping and buffering on the property to present Code requirements. The applicant has also requested a variance to provide a basketball court which does not meet the minimum 50 feet setback required by Code for accessory recreational equipment.
In staff’s opinion, the proposal meets the criteria for granting a Conditional Use Permit. However, it does not meet the minimum of 50 feet setback required for accessory recreational uses. As a result, the proposed basketball court does not meet the criteria of the Code for granting variances.

Ben Gamla Charter School, Hallandale School, LLC (dba)
Application #28-09-CU and #29-09-V
April 13, 2009
Page 11 of 11

Should the Planning and Zoning Board recommend approval of the applications, approval should be conditioned upon the following:
1. All proposed trees shall meet the City’s minimum required height of 10 feet.
2. The City reserves the right to request additional staggering of dismissal and arrival times should vehicular traffic stacking to the property spillover in to the public rights of way.
3. The hours of operation shall be limited to between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.
4. The school shall meet all life safety and building codes as required to obtain occupancy permits.
5. Fencing along public right of way shall be aluminum picket fence
6. Fencing along the perimeter of the adjacent residential uses shall be wood and have a minimum of six feet
in height. A continuous hedge shall be planted, where feasible, along the perimeter of adjacent residential
zoned area.
7. Applicant shall provide a recordable covenant for the shared parking usage for the site as required by Section 32-452 (b)(2) prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy for the property.
________ _____________________________________________________________
PLANNING AND ZONING BOARD RECOMMENDATION
______________________________________________________________________
Suggested motions:
1. I move to approve Application # 28-09-CU by Ben Gamla Charter School requesting a Conditional Use Permit to operate a charter school in a residential single family zoning district pursuant to Section 32-152(c)(2) of the City’s Code of Ordinances.
2. I move to deny Application # 29-09-V by Ben Gamla Charter School requesting a Variance from Section 32-152(c)(2) of the City’s Code of Ordinance in order to provide outdoor play equipment closer than 50 feet from any adjacent residential use.

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