Riverwest residents have mobilized in the last six weeks to prevent a private voucher military school from purchasing the Centro Del Nino building, located at the corner of Center St and Holton. The resistance against such a controversial “boot camp” school locating in the neighborhood just got a big lift.
The following motion was passed at the August 10th Riverwest Neighborhood Association General Membership Meeting:
“The Riverwest Neighborhood Association (RNA) is opposed to the Right Step organization’s purchase and use of the former Holton Street State Bank building, 500 East Center Street. For a myriad of reasons a military style boot camp it is not the best utilization of this building.
Motion: Larry “Spike” Bandy, RNA Chair Emeritus
Second: Doug Lueck, RNA Board Member Emeritus
The push back from neighbors has already successfully delayed the school from occupying the building at the beginning of the coming school 2016-17 year, but the school leaders do have a contested hearing in front of September 8th Building and Zoning Appeals Committee (BOZA) hearing, where public testimony from neighbors will be taken.
The school is currently part of an ongoing F.B.I investigation into child abuse allegations and employs a controversial “no excuses” model that has been called racist and harmful to at risk youth. The school’s proposed site also provide numerous safety issues because of its unique corner location on a very busy intersection. This is significant because the school must switch its current zoning status to allow for a school.
This case is a Special Use appeal. They will only consider testimony that addresses any of the four (especially the first three) criteria listed on their webpage,
If you apply for a Special Use, you must file a statement with you application that addresses each of the following criteria:
- Protection of Public Health Safety and Welfare. The use will be designed, located and operated in a manner so that the public health, safety and welfare are protected. A geographic concentration of establishments of this type may be evidence, in certain circumstances, that the public health, safety and welfare will not be protected.
- Protection of Property. The use, value and enjoyment of other property in the neighborhood will not be substantially impaired or diminished by the establishment, maintenance or operation of the special use. A geographic concentration of establishments of this type may be evidence, in certain circumstances, that the proposed use will substantially impair or diminish property values.
- Traffic and Pedestrian Safety. Adequate measures have been or will be taken to provide safe pedestrian and vehicular access.
- Consistency with Comprehensive Plan. The special use will be designed, located and operated in a manner consistent with the City’s comprehensive plan.
FYI: The Board of Zoning Appeals members have been appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by Common Council.