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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Do we need more distinguished branding?

Coconut Grove and Lemon City are two of the oldest communities in South Florida. With an influx of Haitians populating Lemon City there was recently an effort to have it renamed as Little Haiti.

Coconut Grove has also been going through a change with all the recent arrivals and perhaps its name will soon be changed to reflect its new identity for more distinguished branding.

Ideas for renaming Coconut Grove:
Little Brickell
South Brickell
Condo Grove
Concrete Grove
Dog Heaven
Baby Stroller
Pretentious and Pricy
Two Starbucks and Counting

Sent in by a friend
Coconut Grove

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happy Earth Day

"In the beginning God created the heavens and earth...Then God said, 'Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land' ... God saw all that he had made and it was very good."

Let's try and keep the planet and our home Green.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

HEP Board's Playhouse decision being appealed

An appeal letter went out to the Hearing Board Department on Friday. The letter is regarding the recent Historic and Environmental Preservation Board's (HEPB) approval on April 4, of the Certificate of Appropriateness (COA).

The letter starts: "The HEP Board was required to postpone consideration of the application until the interior of the Playhouse was properly evaluated as whether it has historical significance. The staff recommendation that the 'Board does not have authority to consider interior' was incorrect."

At the April 4 meeting the Board voted to approve the COA even though others brought up the fact that the interior of the Playhouse is historic and can be saved. The current plan calls for demolition. The current plan calls for just the front section, while the rest will be rebuilt, not restored. Guided by Michael Spring, who runs the County's Cultural Affairs office, the front "winged area" on the corner of Main Highway and Charles Avenue is to be saved and the rest will be taken down. It's basically a partial renovation. 

Concerned neighbor, architect Richard Heisenbottle, explained at the April 4 meeting, along with experts brought in from the State, how the whole structure is historic, and could be saved. Apparently it fell on deaf ears and four out of five HEP Board members voted for the current plans to destroy most of the structure.

The appeal letter asks that the HEP Board's decision be overturned. The appeal says that the project goes against county code.

The letter is signed by Lowell J. Kuvin Esq., attorney for Barbara Lange and Katrina Morris, two Coconut Grove residents who are appealing the HEP Board decision. Residents were ignored at the April 4 meeting, not given enough time to speak and many, if not most, left incensed. This is the result.

Here is the letter in the dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/mqsmjyuwchzfzdb/AAAcYxzZrNXyXt_NQun0o-nGa?dl=0

Here is our coverage of the April 4 HEP Board meeting.

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They are dropping "Coconut" from their name

The South Florida Business Journal is reporting that the Coconut Grove Bank is changing its name to Grove Bank and Trust to mark their 90th anniversary and their new headquarters building.

Another loss for Coconut Grove. They couldn't even make it to 100 years celebrating the Coconut Grove name. Not even calling it "The Grove Bank and Trust." The "The" sort of makes a difference.

Little by little, Coconut Grove gets chipped away, it's sad really, there's not much left of the Grove anymore, not even the name.

A few years back, people were up in arms over an advertising campaign calling Coconut Grove "The Nearby Republic of Coconut Grove." People insisted Coconut Grove was changing its name and that could not be tolerated. That slogan never bothered me, but after spending tens of thousands for the whole campaign, it never got off the ground because of outrage from residents and businesses. 

While that didn't bother me, I don't know why the bank sort of does. I understand why they are doing it, but it just doesn't feel right. Maybe it is just that we are losing so much around here that the name is important. I miss when the bank was a community thing, when they were quaint. They lost that when they sold their land and had mega structures built on the property. I miss the days of Food Truck Friday, when I felt Coconut Grove Bank was a real part of the community, slapping the establishment in the face in that regard. Coconut Grove's powers that be forbade food trucks, but the bank went rogue on that and we loved them for that.  Now I feel they would throw me off their property for loitering. 

Well at least they aren't calling themselves Brickell South Bank and Trust.

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Residents are fed up with over-development

It looks like Floridians are having enough of the greed over-crowding caused by over-development. 

We just had the Planning Board decline a zoning change on an apartment building on US1 and Virginia Street where the developer wanted to slip a hotel into the location and now in Palmetto Bay, plans were turned down 4-1 by their council to develop 300 apartments on US1.

From the Miami Herald: “I’m totally against this project and the over-trafficking of the neighborhood,” said Carol Vega. “This to me looks like a monstrosity. I don’t care how cute you make it sound. These projects never turn out that way.”

So nice to see some upstanding politicians. 

This over-sized project would add lots of traffic to the over-burdened US1 nad it is next to single family homes. 

There is another project that is to take over Old Cutler Road in that area, where the developer wants to install hotels and a shopping center, but it's been paired down to a few hundred homes. The pristine undeveloped land will be disturbed for no other reason other than greed.

Here is the Herald story on the Palmetto Bay project.

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Village Council meets Friday night

The Coconut Grove Village Council meets Friday, April 21 from 6 to 8 pm at City Hall.

The agenda:

1. Pledge of Allegiance
2. House Keeping
Approve previous months Minutes
Opportunity for Members to add agenda items
Treasury & Budget Update 
Police / Net Office Report  
3. Discussion Items
  NCD Review update
  Playhouse / Garage update
  Up Zoning (Day/Virginia)
  Omni_CRA Expansion
  Grove 2030 Major Projects meeting
4. Old Business
  2017 Elections / Candidates forms
5. New Business

City Hall is at 3500 Pan American Drive.


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Board denies zoning change on Virginia St property

I don't know if this petition worked, but it didn't hurt.

On Wednesday night, the City of Miami Planning and Zoning and Appeals Board denied the application for the zoning change at 2890 Virginia Street. A developer wanted to change the zoning from "medium density multi-family/duplex residential" to "medium density restricted commercial." At one point, the developer's attorney slipped and called the property a "hotel," showing their real intentions.

It is an apartment building now right on US1 and Virginia. Once a hotel or commercial project is allowed in, there would be a whole domino effect. Affordable housing is the goal now in Coconut Grove.  The current property houses 65 apartments.


By a vote of 6-4, the planning board denied the zoning change. 

Neighbors had two minutes each to speak at the hearing and cohesively they explained their case against the change. They had presentations and the petition and neighbors from Village West showed up to tell of their displacement by unscrupulous slumlords on their end of town.

NCD3 was a big factor in the decision. The boards must stand up to zoning codes and when developers come in, they need to adhere to the codes, not the other way around. As it is now, a developer comes in, fights to change the code to meet their needs and it destroys the whole puprose of Miami21 and the NCD which is the Neighborhood Conservation District. The Grove has two, NCD3 is for all of the Grove and NCD2 is the Village West. NCD3 overlays NCD2. It is a protected area and must remain protected.

This shows that if neighbors stand up and work together and present the facts, that things can work in their favor. The goal is to protect the neighborhood and stave off greedy developers who don't care about the history or quality of life here or anywhere. This was called a "One Grove" protest, where all of the Grove banned together to get something done. This is what is needed, one property at a time if need be.

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They're calling it 'Shake Shock'

I follow Hoboken news because I love it up there. I compare a lot of it to Coconut Grove.

I read in H Lifestyle Mag yesterday that the Hoboken Zoning Board shot down the proposal to have a Shake Shack open in the town. The plan was for Shake Shack to be one of the new businesses in the lobby of a proposed building on Washington Street, which is their main shopping street. And it was shot down! The property is a parking lot now.

Councilman Michael DeFusco, who represents the ward where the building would be is upset and said this: 

"Those in our city’s government, elected or appointed, who view community development as a negative need to realize that smart planning makes our city more livable, creates urban vibrancy and expands the tax base. To that end, a commissioner on the zoning board referred to shake shack (ranked recently by Food & Wine as one of the best burgers in the USA) ‘just another burger joint’.

"Whereas the central business district could’ve gained a world class restaurant and a building that generates taxes for the entire City, my neighborhood will instead continue to live with an empty lot."

I do like that people are concerned with development in Hoboken and they guard any over-development and I wonder if the issue is really to shoot down Shake Shack or just to now have the building built where Shake Shack would be. This guy DeFusco needs to get out more if he thinks Shake Shake is a world class restaurant, though.

In any case, I think Coconut Grove could take a lesson from Hoboken and start thinking before agreeing to anything and everything that is propsed as a new development project. Although I know it's the City of Miami that's destroying the Grove and not the Grove itself.

P.S. I have to laugh that Hoboken is literally one square mile in size and they have wards.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Vizcaya's upcoming programs

Photo by David Almeida
Family Program: 2017 Wild Vizcaya 
Nocturnal Edition
Friday, April 21 
6:00 - 10:00 p.m.
TICKETS:  $18 for Adults I $6 for Children, 6-12
$12 for Vizcaya Members I $3 for Children, 6-12
FREE for Children, 5 and under 
Bring family and friends to join a team of scientists to identify the many kinds of wildlife that call Vizcaya's estate home. During this evening program, families will get a chance to see the nocturnal wildlife at Vizcaya, including a variety of bats and insects. 

Registration closes at 8:00 p.m. No refunds for late arrival.

Not a Vizcaya Member? Join online today and get $15 OFF your Family Membership with code FAMILY. 

Family Program: 2017 Wild Vizcaya 
Saturday, April 22 - 10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
FREE with museum admission
*No reservations required*

Celebrate Earth Day at Vizcaya! BioBlitz returns to Vizcaya for its second year in a row with "Wild Vizcaya," a day of science and discovery for the entire family - from tiny tots to seasoned scientists! 

Learn techniques for exploring, observing and collecting data while using the iNaturalist app to capture and upload photos on your phone or tablet (though it's not required to participate). Join a team of scientists and experts to help identify the many kinds of life in Vizcaya's pocket of preserved habitat and discover Vizcaya's wild side.

Get FREE admission to Vizcaya! Become a Vizcaya member today and enjoy free daytime admission to the estate to take advantage of monthly family programs.

Trio Yoga @ Vizcaya
Sunday, April 30 - 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. 

TICKETS: $18 for Vizcaya Members 
and Trio Yoga Practitioners
Vizcaya welcomes Trio Yoga for a new yoga series at the estate. Admission is limited to Vizcaya members and practitioners of Trio Yoga.

Join Trio Yoga's experienced instructors for a 60-minute, all-level vinyasa class. Classes are held in various locations throughout Vizcaya, including the Garden Mound, South Terrace, Boat Landing, and other evocative locations through the estate. 

Not a Vizcaya member?  Join online today and get a yoga class for FREE. Just select the membership option in the ticket section.
Questions? Send an email

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Shakespeare and Earth Day at The Barnacle

The Barnacle has two great events coming up. On Saturday, April 22 there is Tea With Mr. Shakespeare.

Shakespeare Miami presents a fun-filled afternoon with the Bard of Avon from noon to 3 pm. Come in costume or try one on in the Photo Booth.

Meet fairies in the Fairy Garden. Participate in scenes and sonnets from Shakespeare. Enjoy Renaissance games, arts & crafts, and more, and see actors perform a staged reading of “Taming of the Shrew” at 12:30 pm. 

Picnics and well-behaved pets on hand-held leashes are welcome. The festivities are included with the regular park admission of $2. Children under age 6 are free. Treats and tea will be available for $2 per person.

Then, on Sunday, April 30, The Barnacle and Slow Food Miami invite you to celebrate Earth Day.

Enjoy Earth-friendly products, food, educational crafts and games from 11 am to 4 pm.

Children and adults can participate in Yoga by the Sea at 11 am and Miami Cloud Tai Chi at 1 pm. Fund Pedal will provide live music from noon to 3 pm.

Picnics and well-behaved, leashed pets are welcome. The event is $5 for ages 6 and up and $3 for ages 2 to 5. Kids 2 and under and are admitted free. House Tour tickets are an additional $3 for ages 13 and older, $1 for ages 6-12, and free for kids under 6. 

Free bicycle valet will be provided by Bike Coconut Grove.

The Barnacle Historic State Park is located at 3485 Main Highway.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Next Chamber neworker is at Ferrey's Lighting

The Coconut Grove Chamber of Commerce is having their next networker at Ferrey's Lighting on Wednesday, April 19 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

There is ample free covered parking.

General Admission: $15 Pre-Pay or $20 At Door
Chamber Member discount price: $10 Pre-Pay or $15 At Door

Includes one drink ticket, hors d’oeuvres + happy hour prices on additional drinks

Raffle tickets $5 each / 3 for $10 & $plit the Pot$

Save Money and Purchase Tickets Online.

Ferrey's is located at 3000 SW 28th Lane. It's back on that street where Shell Lumber is, the first left after you cross US1 at 27th Avenue.

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Early morning cyclists



A Grapevine commenter writer wants bikes off the road because "bikes can’t maintain the speed LIMIT" as if LIMIT means minimum speed. Good Grief. That video was shot Sat at 7:30 am in front of Cocowalk. Hardly anyone is out of their house except cyclists.

Howard Srebnick
Miami



EDITOR'S NOTE: I have to admit I was surprised by the comments that accompanied the bicycle video I posted on Saturday. I had waited weeks, maybe months to get the right moment to film this. I post most of this stuff on Instagram, which I call, "feeding the beast," because it's like you have to constantly post there. And hey, it beats selfies. On Instagram people loved it, same with Facebook, I guess because you can't be anonymous there.

This was early in the morning, Saturday morning, and it's the same on Sunday morning. I venture to say that most if not all of the complaining comments were from people who are not up or out at 7:30 am on weekend mornings. If you are, I don't see you out on the street, as there is not much foot traffic and hardly any car traffic. I just wanted to say that yes, at times groups of bicyclists are annoying on the streets, but my purpose of posting the video was because I think it's a fun, Coconut Grove thing to see all the cyclists pass through the village early on weekend mornings. It's a rite of passage. No pun intended. I thought I was posting something fun, it wasn't intended to rile people up.

It sort of reminds me of the AirBnB situation where people came out to speak at City Hall about the issue and then the City called out those people and said now they knew who to sue and go after because they exposed themselves by speaking up. Not my intention by filming the cyclists. Far from it. I love the early morning cyclists. It's one of the last Grovey things we have left. Let's enjoy it before we are all paved over and turned into Brickell South.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Weekend riders

  Early morning today at CocoWalk, the Grove cyclists.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Woman's Club is presented community service award

The Woman’s Club of Coconut Grove received an award for community service at the Annual Meeting and Preservation Awards Presentation of the Dade Heritage Trust held earlier this month. The ceremony was held at the historic Koubek Center in Little Havana.

“On behalf of the Woman’s Club, I am pleased and honored to accept this Award for Community Service in recognition of our efforts in the preservation and ongoing care of our clubhouse and its foundation as a community service center,” said Marlene Erven, president of the Club. 

Long-time Club member Joyce Nelson was also recognized at the Annual Meeting with an award for the Historic Markers project in Coconut Grove. Dolly McIntyre, board member of WCCG and DHT gave a presentation on the eleven most endangered historic properties in Miami-Dade County.

The Woman’s Club of Coconut Grove, founded in 1891 by schoolteacher and homesteader Flora McFarlane, is the oldest federated Woman’s Club in South Florida.

Originally founded to provide for social interaction among the women of the community and to raise funds to construct a Sunday school building, the Club continues to work for the betterment of the community. The present clubhouse was designed by famed architect Walter DeGarmo and built in 1921. The Woman’s Club of Coconut Grove is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Florida's Funniest Female show at St. Stephen's

Florida’s Funniest Female 2017 with Dana Eagle is showcasing Florida’s funniest women with Dana as the headliner. You may know Dana from Last Comic Standing and Comedy Central.

The event is at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church on Saturday, April 22 at 7:00 pm for the semi-finals and at 9:30 pm for the finals.

Show is for 18+
Advance Tickets: $18-150
Tickets at the Door: $35-$200

First come first serve seating. two item minimum purchase at the door with general admission ticket. Event benefits Comic Cure

St. Stephen’s is at 2750 McFarlane Road.

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Sushi Maki opens in Coconut Grove this weekend

Sushi Maki will be unveiling its seventh restaurant and launch a new service concept designed in Coconut Grove on Saturday, April 15.

Deemed “fine casual,” customers will place their orders and pay at a counter, then be escorted to the dining area where they will be served by the Sushi Maki wait staff. 

The new location is next to Starbucks and Monty’s Raw Bar at 2550 South Bayshore Drive. Sushi Maki will also feature some cool extras like free wifi, charging stations on almost every table and two hours of free parking.  The lines are sleek and clean from the outside of the building to the inside of the restaurant. That whole front facade from Starbucks on down has been renovated. They were working furiously to be ready for this weekend's opening when I visited yesterday. 

Sushi Maki Coconut Grove also will accommodate the fast-growing food-delivery business, with a special area of the restaurant dedicated to fulfilling orders and getting drivers on the road quickly. 


CEO Abe Ng
“We like to say that the Grove is our new "sweet spot" – the perfect example of the evolution of Sushi Maki,” said CEO and founder Abe Ng. “Customers will receive the same consistently fresh and delicious food they have come to expect, but now with an even better, more flexible experience. You order as you walk in, have a seat, then we’ll bring the food, refills and any other 'extras' you may want to add to your order. Thai donuts, anyone?”

No two Sushi Maki restaurants are alike. Each caters to the needs of the customers and residents within walking distance.

“We designed Sushi Maki Coconut Grove so customers could come in, eat and get back to their day,” Abe said. “Want somewhere to eat healthy and sit for a while? Camp out with us. The dining is as customizable as the food itself.”

The menu will feature many of the Sushi Maki favorites – Chicken n’ Waffle rolls, an array of sashimi, ramen, bubble tea and poke bowls – along with a few additions that will only be available in Coconut Grove for now. New are the Volcano Fries, with MSC certified kanikama salad, spicy mayo, eel sauce and seaweed strips. Also exclusive to the Grove will be a beef bowl, Tempura Oreos and a Mochi Ice Cream. Local food artisans will also be featured included Islamorada Chanel Marker  IPA and Juisence. 

“We do what’s best for our customers,” said Abe. “But the one thing that remains consistent at every location is the fresh, quality food and fun and friendly environment. That’s never changing.” 


Mochi
The expansion into Coconut Grove was a natural move for the Coral Gables-based chain. The neighborhood’s growth and up-and-coming culinary scene, combined with the ideal location next to a marina, made for good timing for the launch of another full-service restaurant. The new restaurant will add 25 staff members to the company payroll that already employs 250 between its full-service locations, event catering and Whole Food Market kiosks from Pinecrest to Boca Raton. 


Sushi Fries
“We’ve always loved Coconut Grove. For many years, we couldn’t find the spot in the neighborhood. But when this location opened next to a marina, we knew we had a location we couldn’t pass up,” Abe said. 

Founded in 2000, Sushi Maki is South Florida’s award-winning leader in Japanese cuisine, offering premium-quality fare and relaxed dining atmospheres.

Passionate about providing the freshest and finest-quality sushi, Sushi Maki maintains uncompromising standards while putting a modern spin on the traditional sushi experience. Always environmentally aware, they were the first sushi chain in the United States to earn Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, sourcing seafood from sustainable fisheries and promoting responsible ecological harvesting habits. 

Their hours of operation are as follows: Monday - Thursday, 11:00 am - 11:00 pm / Saturday noon - midnight / Sunday noon - 11 pm.


Yoshi Beef

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