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Palm Beach County Commissioners Approve West Delray School Over Protests

Palm Beach County Commissioners gave the green light Wednesday to a controversial school proposal.

Dozens of people filled the commissioners chambers in West Palm Beach to voice support or opposition to construction of the Divine Savior Academy in West Delray Beach. The room was a two-tone mosaic -- opponents in red shirts, supporters in blue.

Credit Peter Haden / WLRN
Attorney Neil Schiller argues against the Divine Savior Acadamy proposal in front of the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners on Dec. 7, 2016.

The Lutheran ministry was requesting permission to allow a 392-student private school, daycare and church on Lyons Road south of Atlantic Avenue. Residents of the area say it will make traffic go from bad to unbearable on Lyons Road, which is scheduled to undergo construction in 2018, widening the road from two to four lanes.

Commissioners approved the measures by a narrow 3-2 vote.

The new religious complex will be rolled out in stages. The first, slated to open in fall 2017, will accommodate 106 preschool children and 75 students in kindergarten and first grade. Each year following, one grade of 30 students would be added. In five years, the full project would be complete.

Divine Savior Ministries president Carlos Leyrer was pleased with the boards decision.

“We have a staggered start and a slow ramp-up period,” said Leyrer. “Between our buildup and the Lyons buildout, it should work just fine.”

Delray Beach resident Lois Hollander lives in the area and was disappointed by the decision.

“To grow the school with traffic we have now and the added construction is going to be insane,” said Hollander. “I worry and fear for our young people and our community.”

Lawyers for nearby Mizner Country Club say they will file a lawsuit against the County appealing the decision.