Destruction of trees in the name of progress
The EWF Stirrup House at 3242 Charles Avenue, probably the oldest house in the Grove other than the Barnacle, is in the hands of the Aries Group, owners of the Calamari restaurant group, right next door (Calamari, Taurus and La Botegga). They have/had plans to put in a bed and breakfast in the old house but in the meantime the old house is being neglected. I'll talk more about the Stirrup house tomorrow, for those that are not familiar with it.
A large tree (shown here) and some others were destroyed to make way for either parking or seating, or both. The one large tree out front, shown here, was probably just as old as the house itself (117 years). There are some who don't wish for any movement on the old Stirrup property, but I don't see any problem with adding a parking lot or seating for the restaurants and I don't see any problem with the owners adding a restaurant or a bed and breakfast to the house itself.
According to reports, no permit was granted for the large tree destruction and that is easy to believe, as I don't believe a permit would have been given for the removal of the tree.
While I am always in favor of businesses making it in the Grove, I don't think the destruction of the Stirrup House or the destruction of the trees should be basically ignored with a fine of a mere $4000, which is what the city did. Restaurants are taxed more for that parking fee scam and they are closed down if parking fees are not paid. But destruction of history (and trees) gets a slap on the hand. Why?
Some people feel that the historic house should be left alone, but anyone coming in to help restore it is a good thing. For those that complain almost on a daily basis, you had the chance to take over the property when it available. You didn't.
The house has stood intact since 1897. Now it needs a lot of work as time goes on. In 2011, neighbors on Charles Avenue were not in favor of zoning changes, which would turn the area commercial. I can see what they were fearing back then; an attack on Grove/Miami history. But something should be done to save the trees and the house.
As for further tree destruction, these logs come from large oak trees at the Coconut Grove Bank property. I do hope that my friends at the Terre Group will stop hurting the trees and start preserving them. That's where the new condos are to go in, they have already started doing work in the parking lot. The main objective is to build a new bank building first, so that the bank can vacate the current building and it can be demolished to make way for a few towers in its place. But save the trees. Below you can see where a tree was killed in the parking lot. No more massacres, please.
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