Sherman’s Planning & Zoning Commission recently heard plans for a bilingual school for preschool aged children that would be located on North Travis Street.
Ruben and Adriana Alvarez appeared before the commission to discuss their request for a site plan and specific use permit to allow a language school at their property at 1704-1706 N. Travis Street but ultimately asked that the matter be tabled following concerns about traffic and a planned circle driveway at the property.
“My project will be a language school, preschool for 3- to 5-year-old kids,” Adriana Alvarez said. “This is going to be a bilingual school in which English and Spanish will be instructed in an immersion program, with an introduction to French. Currently the property is a duplex; we own this property and we are planning to combine the duplexes to make just one building.”
Adriana Alvarez said her initial plans are to have two classrooms at the school. One of the classrooms would be for the younger students and one would be for the older ones, but she is also considering adding a third classroom down the line.
“I expect to have between eight and 12 students per classroom,” Adriana Alvarez said.
Information provided to the commission states the Alvarezes plan to have four employees at the school and provide six parking spaces as well as a circle driveway for dropping off and picking up the children, with both outlets being on Travis Street between Fairview and Texas streets. However, commissioners pointed out that the site plan submitted would only allow five parking spaces and expressed concern with the traffic the school would create on Travis Street.
“I know it’s rated at 30 miles an hour, but I’ve never seen anybody drive 30 in that area,” commission member Sean Vanderveer said.
City Engineer Clint Philpott confirmed Travis Street is a busy roadway.
“We have, in the past, not allowed dual driveways on properties going into Travis because of how high of a traffic volume that is,” Philpott said before pointing out the city’s driveway standards for commercial development require a minimum spacing of 25 feet between the two ends of a circle driveway.
Adriana Alvarez said their plan probably has less than 10 feet of space between the ends of the planned driveway.
James R. Melton, a neighboring property owner, also appeared before the commission to express concern with the traffic in light of the Alvarezes having up to 36 students in the school’s three planned classrooms.
“I’m concerned about the fact that the lot is so small I can’t see how they can get enough parking to have ingress and egress for 36 children to come into that building safely on Travis Street,” Melton said.
Adriana Alvarez then told the commission if having 36 children would be a concern for local residents, she could limit it to a maximum of 24 students.
“It seems like the concern is the traffic,” P&Z Chairman Clay Mahone said.
Vanderveer said he was also concerned about approving anything without seeing a detailed drawing reflecting the changes to parking and the driveway the Alvarezes would need to make.
“The more accurate this is, the easier it is for us to make a decision,” Mahone said of the site plan after asking the Alvarezes whether they would consider voluntarily tabling the matter until a later date.
The Alvarezes agreed, and the commission unanimously approved the motion to table it.