Setback for Summit

Summit Academy Charter School isn’t broken up about opposition to its proposed move to Butler Street.

“That [site] is one option of many that we are exploring right now,” Summit Principal Shahara Jackson told this paper.

Community Board Six’s Landmarks and Land Use Committee voted against Summit’s special permit application, which Jackson said was necessary to legally allow the landlord of 255 Butler Street to “do business” with the school. The site is now zoned as a manufacturing district.

In rejecting the application, the committee expressed concern about students’ commute to the Butler Street building.

“The committee’s focus was the traffic issues. They felt the applicant hadn’t sufficiently addressed how the students would be transported to and from the school safely,” explained Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman.

Such investigation is necessary “given the mixed use nature of the area — it has industrial issues and fairly high-density public housing all within the same general area.”

There have also been reports of prostitution and drug dealing in the neighborhood.

However, Jackson insisted that students would be kept safe.

“We live in New York City. There’s crime everywhere,” she said. “Safety is our first priority, so as every school in New York City takes precautions, so will we.”

The administrator noted that Summit is currently housed in P.S. 27, located at 27 Huntington Street in Red Hook.

“Red Hook has a relatively poor history. We have safety precautions in place,” Jackson said. In a new building, “We plan to implement the same safety precautions that we have now.”

Jackson wouldn’t say whether or not Summit would continue to consider the Butler Street site if the full community board rejects the special permit application at its next meeting. Instead, she offered, “We have no control over whether the community board approves or disapproves the site. We have to abide by whatever judgment is rendered.”

She declined to reveal the addresses of the other sites Summit is also considering.

Summit will remain at P.S. 27 until June 2011.

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