Wawa Update: Parents Sue The City

The City of Coral Gables has been sued by parents of students attending George Washington Carver Elementary and Middle Schools over the construction of the Wawa gas station across the street from the schools.

As previously reported on Gables Insider, parents, school officials, residents and community leaders have demonstrated their concerns over the construction of this new project across the street from a school. The project was approved following backroom deals by the office of the City Attorney, dating back 7 years, to acquiesce the needs of the developer.

The lawsuit is a clear snub to several members of the Commission who were actively advocating to prevent any formal parent and community input, in order to prevent a lawsuit from the developer.

Parents and concerned residents have created the Gables Accountability Project (“a Florida non-profit organization made up of concerned Coral Gables residents and parents of children attending George Washington Carver Elementary and Middle Schools as well as Sunset Elementary School.”) and have filed suit against the City.

They released the following statement:

“We are appalled that the City of Coral Gables has repeatedly ignored our request to be heard about a construction project affecting the safety and welfare of more than 1,500 students at George Washington Carver Elementary and Middle Schools.

We felt compelled to file this lawsuit as a last resort after city commissioners took no responsibility for approving a settlement agreement with the land’s developer that, among other things, granted no public hearing on the proposed gas station and a promise to fast track all zoning modifications. In this manner, parents’ legitimate concerns about increased pollution, traffic and safety within close proximity to the school were silenced.

We understand the importance of developing this valuable property. But the failure to include public input from parents and the schools located less than 300 feet from the proposed gas station is incredibly troubling. We urge the City of Coral Gables Commissioners, the Miami Dade County School Board and the Miami Dade Board of County Commissioners to take action to prevent the project from moving forward and find a creative solution that takes into account the perspective of all community members.”


10 thoughts on “Wawa Update: Parents Sue The City

  1. All the published data indicates cognitive and learning abilities decrease in areas of high pollution. I applaud the parents and teachers of George Washington Carver Elementary for standing up to this Goliath. If we can’t protect our children’s health, we cannot provide a learning environment for them. We adult custodians of our community owe this to our children. The gas station should never have been approved. The future lawsuits from the parents of children (think Flint Michigan) will ultimately cost the City of Coral Gables much more than they stand to benefit from allowing this to go through.

  2. In response to Anonymous:

    The EPA specifically recommends gas stations be located at least 1,000 feet from schools to protect students from toxic fumes and air pollution due to increased traffic. Here the proposed gas station will be barely 300 feet from the busy entrance to the school used daily by hundreds of small children.

  3. The developer is conniving back stabbing piece of work.
    The city attorney at that time thought he was a big time deal maker but was only a little slimy weasel.
    And now this is what we have to show for it.
    Every effort should be made to extricate the city from this deal no matter the cost.

  4. A better site for Wawa would be that empty green space across from Coral Gables City Hall. It’s not even used on winter Saturdays when they hold the Farmers Market. Only use–a month or so when Christmas is celebrated, and that is a religious holiday, so it can be skipped (and make everyone work on that day…don’t doctors and medical offices work on other ‘holidays’ like MLK Day, Veteran’s Day, Columbus Day?)

  5. What happened to the proposed community center and quick-service restaurant (a certain QSR that serves chicken and delicious biscuits) for this site? Now we have a gas station being proposed and possibly built. WaWa’s are great and all, but I think a community center and quick-service restaurant would have been the better play here. Just my two cents from North Gables.

  6. The lawsuit is being filed by Coral Gables RESIDENTS whose children attend the Carver schools.

    This gas station will be the FOURTH gas station within a block of the proposed site.

  7. Very disappointed in Coral Gables. I am for reasonable development but the some of the projects that are being allowed are out of place. I am talking about the project across from Ponce Circle Park.
    It is a monstrosity of concrete. It is awful. Why can’t we leave the space across from the school as a green space. There are plenty of gas stations in the area. I feel Coral Gables is not friendly to green spaces, large parks, dog parks, etc. We seem to have a governance that is on the side of developers and not for the residents. Maybe we need to change the governance.

  8. When I contacted the city attorney to express my concern and opposition to the Wawa project, she told me about the “backroom deals” that were made 7 years ago. I stated my opposition based on the “Brownsfield regulations” which specifically list gas stations as extreme contaminats of the land that they sit on. This property was supposed to be a public green space!
    We the neighbors who opposed this project, were blocked from signing the form to indicate we were opposed. At the meeting the said form was “left at home” by the person in charge. She said she would bring it by my house, but never did despite repeated request to sign it in oposition to the Wawa project by the neighbors who live in the Historic McFarlane community.

  9. This makes no sense, especially a school right off US1. There are tons of schools with gas stations next to them. A gas station, and a wawa on top of that, sounds to me like a huge convenience for everyone. Some people just love to complain. If it were any other building I’m sure it would’ve been the typical case of increased traffic. I don’t know why people forget the Gables is smack in the middle of Miami a city known throughout the world. There’s going to be traffic wether people live or work here or not. There’s going to be development. There’s a difference between having a nice developing and updating city and having a city with no change and outdated. Case and point miracle mile and giralda. Businesses were dying and redevelopment to something current has saved many business and opened others because people including those outside the Gables now want to come to the Gables again. If people are so anti of growth then might as well build a wall around the city. Makes zero sense and I’m certain all those parents are going to find themselves using the Wawa also. It’s the old gas stations that are dirty and and eye sore. The new ones are clean and great.

  10. First I have to agree with the parents on the way this may have been handled. From experience the Mayor and a Commissioner have a history of knowing what we need more than what we do. Their arrogance is seen in most of their governing. Second it is my understanding most of these parents do not even live in Coral Gables, therefore may not have any business involving themselves in what OUR City does with its land. WAWA is really a very nice market style gas station and its offerings are really needed in this area. Personally thinking, outside of Adult Entertainment, you have no right to complain or create this law suit against the proposed development. You are being very entitled and causing expenses in OUR City that are unacceptable. These are elementary chidden, not high schoolers, who will walk across the street and hang out at the coffee bar. Please take your energies and put it into making the public school system a better learning institution. You are wasting OUR City’s time and recourses.

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