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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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6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How smart is it to want to avoid questions connected to the interior?

April 21, 2017 9:13 PM  
Anonymous John Dolson said...

This appeal is long overdue. That bond floated 2004 was to restore the playhouse. That is what people voted for and they didn't envision reducing the seating from 1000 to 300 and then putting in apartments, plus a restaurant and retail. Twenty seven apartments for who? I have no problem with a parking garage (we don't have enough parking). I can even live with the restaurant. But I do question how a 300 seat auditorium will draw any quality acts. At last night's Village Council meeting, there were a few members of the council that had a very dismissive attitude toward objections to the design, stating that 'they had reviewed all that and why was anyone questioning the plan'. I think this debate is long from over and I don't personally know many people who think diminishing the goal of have a functioning playhouse is a good idea. The current design sure makes the Bond issue look like a bad promise. Thanks, Katrina Morris and Barbara Lange for pursuing this. The public needs another chance to voice its concerns.

April 22, 2017 7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Katrina and Barbara

April 22, 2017 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So why do good folks like Barbara, Katrina and Morris have to step up to the plate and protect the Grove? Is that not the job of the CGVC, BID and our Commissioner? Its shameful that citizens have to go to battle each time there is a demolition of an historic structure, spilt zoning or spot zoning for more height and density. If our CGVC, BUD and Commissioner are not protecting our community then we need new representation or at the very least a skilled zoning advocate.

April 22, 2017 10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so tired of reading about The Playhouse as it sits there and deteriorates. In the end it will probably be torn down as an unsafe structure as so often happens in The City of Miami.

April 23, 2017 7:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ranson Everglades wants the scheme to go forward so it gets a new parking garage. Plus, Ranson wants the taxpayers to back stop a massive bond issue.

April 23, 2017 5:50 PM  

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