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No good reason to oppose charter school? Residents beg to differ

The 4,500 residents of Sun City MacDonald Ranch do not take a position on a project around our community without researching facts. We agree that a charter school project is worthwhile if in a location that would not be detrimental to the surrounding community. Your Feb. 27 editorial, “No good reason to oppose charter school,” contained false and misleading statements in an effort to convince city officials that the proposed school is a worthwhile project at this location.

In its application, Coral Academy informed the Henderson Planning Commission that there will be 1,586 students; a closed campus; no busing and on-site stacking lanes for cars that will hold not more than 185 vehicles.

The editorial ignored facts that would make any reasonable person conclude that the proposed location of this project will have a significant adverse impact on all parties, including MacDonald Ranch homeowners, existing retail businesses, the traveling public and the students themselves.

The editorial incorrectly states that with two access points, no one traveling to school would use roads within Sun City MacDonald Ranch other than Horizon Ridge Parkway and there would be no traffic problem. It misleads readers by stating the school building is 130 yards from MacDonald Ranch. It misleads by comparing retail traffic totals to school traffic. Unlike school traffic, retail traffic does not arrive at the same time.

Coral claims that it is possible to open the gates at 7:30 a.m. and have the last student to class by 8:15 a.m. We have done the math. If there were 1,586 cars and 185 were stacked on site, 1,401 would be behind the line waiting to get in. It takes 6.6 lane miles to hold 1,401 cars.

Each of these cars will have to move through the line and unload in 1.7 seconds. With all of the traffic arriving at a scheduled time, there would be a major traffic backup on the roadways.

At the developer’s neighborhood informational meeting, we discovered that Coral will allow sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students to leave campus unsupervised with parental permission. With students meeting parents off site, traffic backup will be less. However, it will not be eliminated. Students will be forced to walk through our neighborhood and parking lots, and walk across congested, heavily traveled arterial roads. This will change our way of life, will disrupt access to the retail businesses and will create safety problems for the students. Also, unsupervised students will be walking around and entering existing stores that sell liquor.

Plans call for a playground adjacent to MacDonald Ranch property. It will be 130 feet from the homes, and the stacking lanes will be 100 feet from the properties, three times closer than the misleading 130 yards stated in the editorial.

We have not been able to find a single school in Henderson that is located immediately next to an age-restricted community. How is it possible to argue that the age-restricted lifestyle that is associated with any age-restricted community will not be changed when children will be walking through the community and playing on a playground only 130 feet from homes? The lifestyle would no longer be that of an age-restricted community. Property values will plummet. Would the editor care to make an investment in these properties?

The city of Henderson provided Coral Academy with four other sites to locate this school. We believe that some of them had existing buildings. Why were these sites rejected? One can only guess: money.

Yes, the school could be ready for classes in less time and it would save the school and developer a significant amount of money. But at what cost? It would change the lifestyle for our residents, reduce property values, result in business losses and traffic congestion, and create safety hazards for the students.

For the safety of the students and the good of our surrounding community at large, the Henderson Planning Commission and City Council have an obligation to understand the problems that this project will create in this location.

If they do, they can only conclude that this project does not comply with the intent of Henderson’s Zoning Regulations and Community Development Plan, and reject this proposal.

Rocky Luiere is vice president of the Sun City MacDonald Ranch Community Association.

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