Residents prepare to speak out against charter school at zoning - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Residents speak out against charter school at zoning hearing

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Officials with the Southwest Louisiana Charter School are hoping to build the school south of Lake Charles.

But residents around the proposed location are questioning how logical the placement would be.

"I have no issue or opposition to the charter school itself. It is simply the location of the school," said Crestview resident Keith Leger. "I wish them all the luck."

As a middle school administrator, Leger considers himself pro-education. But as a south Lake Charles resident, he's against the location of the new charter school, expected to hold  more than 800 students. The proposed location is the lot on the corner of Nelson and Ham Reid Roads, an already very busy strip of roadway.

"In a recent traffic study, it was projected that there could be anywhere between 800 and 900 private vehicles that are going to be added to Nelson Road or Ham Reid Road," said Leger. "It's already very difficult to get on to nelson road from our subdivision as it is, so I just can't wrap my mind around or fathom 900 additional vehicles."

The school will accommodate a five-parish area, which Leger says is another reason the proposed land is not a great location, something he brought up at Tuesday night's zoning hearing.

"Along with most of the other residents around here, I thought it was already a done deal, and I thought that we had not gotten an opportunity to provide input," said Leger.

The traffic isn't the only problem Leger brought up at the hearing. He's also worried about future issues in his own neighborhood.

"There's a little gully behind us in south Crestview that this past year has overflowed several times," said Leger. "When it does, all of Crestview drains into that gully. So when it overflows, we're all backed up with water already, and we have standing water in our yards right now.

KPLC asked about existing traffic issues near the proposed property. The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office responded to 21-traffic accidents on Nelson Road between Tank Farm and Country Club in just the past year. That does not include city police or state police responses.

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