Oversized houses are being built all over the Grove
Miami 21 states: "The single family residential district is intended to protect the low density residential and dominant tree canopy characteristics of Coconut Grove and prevent the intrusion of additional density.” Developers are violating the code and no one in the City of Miami or the Grove seems to care when complaints are filed.
Seven neighbors from the South Grove, and a representative from Comm. Ken Russell's office and another from the Coconut Grove Village Council met with Miami City Assistant Attorney Amanda Quirke Hand last week. She said that three single-family lots in the South Grove have been divided into multiple building sites and neighbors were correct when they said that this is not legal. The code says: "Wherever an existing single-family residence or lawful accessory building(s) or structure(s) is located on one or more platted lots or portions thereof, such lots shall thereafter constitute only one building site and no permit shall be issued for the construction of more than one single-family residence except by Warrant."
But with this project, apparently, it was never platted because it was part of a large grove and a warrant was not needed. The planning director approved this with no regard to the surrounding neighborhood. A "mini village" in the center of single family homes on leafy Ingraham Highway.
Commissioner Ken Russell told me, "I understand what the code says, but once a property goes through the process and is approved, it’s no longer 'illegal.' There needs to be more vocal opposition at the public hearings."
The problem with this is that there are NO public hearings. There is no warrant on these locations, which is dictated by code. If there is no warrant, there is no notification, which means neighbors don't know about the upcoming projects, nothing is posted, there is no chance to file a complaint or appeal. These projects have been underway for two to three years, but just broke ground recently. What happened two to three years ago? Who was paid off to approve these illegal secret projects?
People need to be accountable and fines need to be raised. Taking one tree down illegally should be fined $20,000 per tree, not $2000. And putting more than one structure on a one plat lot should consist of the structures being knocked down, just as easily and fast as the original house has been taken down.
The Village Council will be discussing these zoning issues at Wednesday's meeting (April 20), 6 pm at the Glass House in Peacock Park.
Another meeting is at Plymouth Church, 3400 Devon Road, on Wednesday, April 27 at 7 pm.
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