Bus stop prompts feud in Coconut Creek
Nov 03, 2012 (Menafn - Sun Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Their road is private but it has led to a very public battle between neighbors in a quiet Coconut Creek community.
At issue: whether a public school bus should be allowed to enter the one-street community of Wildwood Estates. Some residents say the bus is needed because it provides a safer commute for their kids; others insist it's a liability for homeowners who will have to pay if an accident happens on the private road.
Several owners of the 60 or so houses in the neighborhood say they have sought lawyers to protect themselves from back-and-forth allegations of harassment, pending lawsuits and the sheer nastiness involved.
"There's deep animosity and it truly is a shame," said Michael Jessop, 75. "There's been so many names called and people accused of so many things."
This year, the bus that turned down Northwest 71st street to pick up two students was ordered not to enter the community after the district received complaints from neighbors.
Tracy Clark, a district public information officer, said a transportation staffer determined "the bus could not, with consistency, clear the area without having to back up." For safety reasons, the district removed the stop. Now, children are picked up outside the community on Northwest 39th Avenue.
TyAnn Coutley said the new stop is along a heavily trafficked road and too dangerous for her 11-year-old daughter. "It's so frustrating," she said, adding that 53 out of 63 homes signed a petition in support of keeping the old bus stop.
Coutley is now looking to take legal action against the district. She has already filed a lawsuit accusing former members of the community's board of harassing and discriminating against her when she was advocating for the bus.
Diane Livingston said one couple who opposed the stop parked their cars at the end of their driveway so it would be harder for the bus to turn around. But others say the bus was constantly running over that family's driveway and lawn.
While the bus may be gone, the hostility remains.
"We feel uncomfortable driving home at night," said Kim Holdman. She said after the bus stop was removed, she and her husband began to be harassed -- balls were constantly thrown at the house and laser beams were pointed through the windows.
"The fact is, the street is not sufficient in width," Holdman said. Her husband, Charles Kern, said his concern was the liability issue if there was an accident.
But the worst part, he added, was the community's board repaving of the turnaround next to his house, adding 1,100 square feet of asphalt to make more room for the bus "without the homeowners' knowing."
"We just want this stuff to go away," said Jessop. "But I don't think we're going to move past this, frankly. Too many things have occurred."
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