First steps in protecting over-development
What's interesting about this is that while this one piece of property is in everyone's sight, other properties all over the Grove are being destroyed in the name of greed. Every time you turn around, there's an empty lot and just as fast as the old house on that property was destroyed, new houses are going up. More than one on one plat of land.
On July 14, at a City Commission meeting, residents spoke about the former Battersea Woods property at Ingraham Highway and Battersea. A 1901 house was destroyed there and much of the tree cover, which was substantial. The developer removed almost all of the trees. Plans are for a total of seven new houses on this site.
The presentation by residents had some sway with the commission. There was a discussion on the property rather than the usual rubber stamp approval. Commissioner Ken Russell addressed the issue as a violation of the code, the failure of the developer to obtain a warrant for the subdivision. With no warrant there is no process for neighbors to object to the project. There is no notification of abutting neighbors, no notice, no opportunity to appeal the decision.
The item was deferred until a July 28 meeting, so that further investigation can be done. The developer has two houses under construction without a permanent plat. Denial of the re-plat would send a message to other developers that there is a downside to doing subdivisions which are not in accord with the code.
From Miami21: "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” When developers violate this code they are taking existing homeowners’ property: the healthy sustainable grove environment we share with our neighbors.
Commissioner Russell says: "Grovites are suspicious that the code is not being followed with regard to lot splitting and tree removals. Large lot homes are being split into little ones for profit. Trees are being removed to make space. My team and I have walked through the process of this particular case. Lot splitting without a warrant is illegal in Coconut Grove's Neighborhood Conservation District. A warrant is a process that triggers public input and the right for neighbors to appeal once they have been notified of the application. In this case, no warrant was issued, so at this week's commission meeting I hit the brakes instead of the rubber stamp."
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