The planned Wellington Charter School will also include a daycare center after members of the Wellington Village Council approved a resolution last week to allow the project’s daycare component.
At the June 25 meeting, Growth Management Director Tim Stillings noted that the daycare facility is part of the larger, 1,200-student school for kindergarteners through eighth-graders.
While the school will encompass 75,000 square feet, the proposed daycare would be 15,000 square feet.
“The daycare originally was proposed with 200 children,” Stillings said. “Tonight’s approval would increase that to 228 children.”
Though traffic was a key issue for many council members, Stillings said that the proposed circulation plan for the site includes provision for the daycare.
“We believe [the plan] will adequately deal with site circulation and ensure that there is no stacking onto State Road 7,” he said.
Another change to the proposal will have the applicant pay the cost upfront of a crucial traffic light at SR 7 and Palomino Drive, Stillings said.
“They will pay the full amount of the light,” he said. “Wellington will reimburse them $141,000 when it’s received from the other parties.”
Though two other property owners are on the hook to pay for a portion of the light, Wellington Charter School owners offered to front the cost of the light to get the project underway in time for the 2013-14 school year.
Councilman Matt Willhite said the traffic light would alleviate many of his safety concerns.
“That concern goes back to when the county approved the development that is on Palomino,” he said. “I think the traffic light should have gone in then. It didn’t, and that’s why we’re in the position we are in today. But I think we are in a good place now.”
Willhite also commended the applicant for working to alleviate traffic problems.
“That was my very first concern,” he said. “I’m very happy to see that the applicant has put everything aside, including financial support, to make sure this traffic light comes forward.”
He said he is glad to see something being built on the property that will bring value to the community.
“This is the third project I’ve voted for on that property, and I’ve never seen something come to fruition,” he said. “I’m so excited that the applicant is committed 100 percent to building this school and the amenities that go with it that they’re willing to put up the funding to get this done.”
Vice Mayor Howard Coates asked why the daycare center was increasing from 200 students to 228 students. “Will that have an impact on traffic issues?” he asked.
Agent for the applicant John Schmidt said that the difference is because of the way age groups are divided among staff.
“It was an error on our part, but 228 students is the best number that works with the mix of teachers in the daycare,” Schmidt said. “The traffic impacts are based on the square footage of the daycare, not the number of [children] within the daycare.”
Councilman John Greene asked Wellington staff to work with the county to get the traffic signal installed.
“It’s critical that the light is installed prior to the [next] school year,” he said. “I’ve expressed some concern in the past about who is paying for it and who isn’t paying their fair share, so I thank [the applicant] for stepping up. It was essential, from a public safety standpoint.”
Willhite made a motion to approve the resolution with the amendments, which passed unanimously.
In other business, council members directed staff to include $51,000 in the upcoming budget for the Wellington Seniors Club.
Wellington has provided money to the club for many years, Director of Operations Jim Barnes said. “The funds would be subject to availability,” he told the council. “You will have the opportunity to give final approval during budget hearings.”
Greene asked whether the proposed amount was in line with the budget. Barnes said that council had to direct staff to include the financing.
“[The club] requests it early so we can factor it into the budget,” he said.
Willhite asked whether the approval needed to mention that the funds were pending approval during the budget.
Village Manager Paul Schofield said that was not necessary.
“I just need direction from [the] council to put it in the budget,” he said. “This is the same amount we’ve been funding for as long as I can remember. This is one of those things that we do for our seniors.”
Coates said he supports adding the money into the budget for discussion purposes but didn’t want anyone mistaking it for a guarantee.
“Without seeing what the whole budget is going to be, it’s hard for me to say definitely that this will survive the process,” he said.
He made a motion to direct staff to include the funds, which passed unanimously.
ABOVE: The Wellington Village Council.