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Monday, March 31, 2014

Locals all lit up about the new LED sign

The new ugly sign by Van Wagner advertising,
complete with the ugly FPL meter next to it.

There's a new improved sign ordinance planned for the City of Miami including illuminated and LED signs but it keeps being put off because no one knows the exact rules or wants to make a decision.

The proposed ordinance would eventually get rid of all free-standing signs in favor of monument signs, which planners view as “more urban," according to this article in Miami Today.

Grovite Nathan Kurland, quoted in Miami Today, said "the 'flashing mess' of LED signs threatens to ruin the area’s tropical beauty, and even stricter rules are needed to regulate the brightness of LEDs."

Well, a flashing mess was installed right in the Center Grove, which took a couple of weeks to do. It was so involved that even the streets were dug up to accommodate the monolith sitting next to a bus bench. There's even a large ugly electrical meter next to it so that FPL can get their cut of the digital mess. This is right on Grand Avenue, near Virginia Street, a major bus stop here in the Grove. And no one waited for the new rules to be confirmed before planting this right in the middle of the sidewalk.

Locals are upset and the thing isn't even lit up yet. There may be some rules against this though with the Grove being historical and all. Although I thought that historical streets, not the whole village, would be a deterrent. I'm not sure if Grand Avenue is historical, but the locals are hysterical over the sign.

For linking to this one story, just click on the time it was posted & just this story will open for sharing - only through social media. Not copying and pasting.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The LED sign isn't even solar?

March 31, 2014 9:14 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

All in all, It's in the eye of the beholder. For us the neighbors, Coconut Grove is our Historical Village, not just the historical streets, and this LED sign breaks the armony of the sidewalk on Grand Avenue. We are going backwards, this is not cool really. #savethegrove, #thegrovehistoricalvillage, #noledsignsatthegrove

March 31, 2014 9:52 AM  
Anonymous Harry Emilio Gottlieb said...

Historical villages such as Martha's Vineyard and Cape Code know better than to self-destruct! They protect their heritage, charm and uniqueness from the incursion of billboards and chain-stores. They preserve and celebrate their village historical identity. That is the reason they are desirable destinations and most valuable communities. Coconut Grove, not so much!

March 31, 2014 3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, but that goes perfectly with the aesthetic of cocowalk and that whole area of grand ave.

March 31, 2014 3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The constantly under construction, empty storefront, going out of business, cheesy chain store, corporate takeover aesthetic?

I completely agree.

It's a great location for it. Placed perfectly for when the tour buses turn off Bayshore and on to Grand. It will be a beautiful shining LED beacon that can be tourists first impression of our Nearby Republic. Shining proudly through the dark night to show one and all the benefits of buying erectile dysfunction drugs or the iPhone 15.

March 31, 2014 4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you object to disgusting outdoor advertising contact local Commissioner Marc Sarnoff. 305 250 5333. Sarnoff approved this LED billboard. Van Wagoner is one of Sarnoff's biggest campaign contributors.

March 31, 2014 4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I prefer to gaze all day at the beautiful red and green colors in our Traditional Zen Village, feels like downtown Tibet.

March 31, 2014 5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you love flashing LED billboards on every sidewalk and on every highway then keep voting for Sarnoff and your dreams will come true.

March 31, 2014 7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Downtown Tibet?! You do know that Tibet is a country/region, and not a city with a "downtown area."

March 31, 2014 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Liliana Dones said...

On the plus side, you can duck right behind it if you see someone coming you wish to avoid.

Notice in Tom's picture how the people waiting for the bus are actually sitting on the curb of the storefront where there is shade. The lady with the umbrella, dwarfed by the size of the billboard, would be forced to use the umbrella while waiting for the bus.

It's not the size of the thing, or brightness of the LED that is of particular insult to those who use the actual bus alongside it, but the lack of gratefulness to the bus riders themselves on whose existence these signs have thrived and grown totally out of proportion.

Bus benches morphed from looking like park benches, to benches with the back as a solid board in order to display ads-- which was somewhat acceptable as these tended to be for local businesses- dry cleaners, divorce lawyers, etc. Then about 15 years ago, they morphed into elaborate shelters on the side of which an ad could be placed. But at least those provided shelter to people waiting for the bus.

Was I the only one offended several years back when these were then replaced by the City to do away with the shelter altogether and just leave the big sign next to a metal bench that requires no coals beneath it in order to grill the butts off any person waiting for the bus?

Perhaps the most obnoxious part of this is that they still insist on placing the bench next to the sign, as if to somehow fool us all into thinking that this is still a Bus Shelter. In fact, in the advertising industry still refers to these types of display as as "bus shelter" displays.

I have been pointing out to the city for a very long time that they should be ashamed of allowing this. That they should have demanded that the media companies that own theses signs at least design something that puts the Shelter back in the Bus Shelter.

The County at least has decent looking shelters with glass enclosure and a tropical scene etched to the back.

March 31, 2014 7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I plug in my iPhone to it to read Coconut Grove Grapevine, Eye On Miami and the Crespogram on the go.

March 31, 2014 7:40 PM  
Anonymous Charles Corda said...

To Harry.. We ( Coconut Grove) are not "self destructing". Sarnoff is systematically destructing the Grove.
"We" are at least a great many of us, are doing what we can to stop the desecration of this once special and unique place by opposing this loathsome sanguinary man. . Unfortunately not enough people want to stand up for Coconut Grove and as such he gets away with his malevolent schemes. By the time his term ends there will be nothing left of the "Old" cherished Coconut Grove.

March 31, 2014 8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the enlightening Geography tip, anon@7:24! Namaste.

March 31, 2014 8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarnoff says he "loves billboards". You get what you asked for... By the way, Van Wagoner is based in NY. Think Van Wagoner gives a crap about the Grove?

March 31, 2014 9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someone point to document that states that Sarnoff personally approved of this sign?

March 31, 2014 9:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice dream but Sarnoff is too smart to leave "smoking guns" lying around. The dude uses multiple personal E-mail accounts to conduct City business. You think a LED billboard got approved in Coconut Grove without Alice Bravo and Vanessa Acosta getting Sarnoff's verbal permission?

April 01, 2014 12:12 AM  
Anonymous swlip said...

Sorry to always be the one who has to point these things out, but there is nothing even remotely "historical" about that stretch of sidewalk. None of the surrounding buildings existed before the 1980s. The Mayfair building represents a rather sad attempt at imitation Art Nouveau, and Cocowalk is just New Urban kitsch with a faux Mediterranean Revival theme.

I also can't help but notice the ongoing cognitive dissonance expressed on these comment threads. On the one hand, people argue that we need to improve business in the center Grove. This is a laudable goal, which I wholeheartedly support. On the other hand, Groveites seem prone to demand regulations that raise barriers to entry and prevent the sort of innovation that might give way to a more hospitable business climate.

You can't preserve the status quo and expect a rebound in the center Grove.

April 01, 2014 8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LED billboards are just giant TV sets installed to distract residents and tourists with ads for trips to foreign countries, health care plans and other nonsense. They make neighborhoods look cheap and ghetto.

April 01, 2014 8:29 AM  
Anonymous Charles Corda said...

Dear SWLIP; What you are missing is that the Grove's value resides in the "ambiance" of the area. People don't come to Coconut Grove because it is like every other common neighborhood. They come because there is perception that this is a special and unique place .Being here imparts a certain cache...a sense of place that does not exist elsewhere in South Florida... The preservation of the Grove's unique character where it still exists is paramount to the Grove's success as both a residential and thriving commercial community. If you take away all that imparts the unique character of the Grove you lose the reasons why people visit and shop here. Littering the streets with unsightly signage, as we are looking at here, is not "progress" as some have suggested . It is simply an attack upon the visual and physical ambiance that seriously detracts from the experience of being in this place. As much as I am against the concept of "review" boards. there should be a Architectural Review Board that looks at every building project including signage proposed for the Grove. . We need to have tighter controls on what gets built and placed here. Without such a Board the Grove will slip away into just a memory of what once was. We are missing a great opportunity to enhance the experience of living and working here. CRC

April 01, 2014 9:14 AM  
Blogger Sledge said...

This is just a relatively small, "modern" looking LED board. Most main streets have them, depends on what they advertise, if you ask me.. If it's a Corona ad with a cool beach in Tahiti, so be it. If it's 0bama pressing you to file your taxes and sign up for Obama care to avoid penalties.. Different story.

April 01, 2014 9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Nice dream but Sarnoff is too smart to leave "smoking guns" lying around."

April 01, 2014 12:12 AM

That's hilarious. It's all he said, she said. The commentators on this blog get funnier every day. It's all blind speculation and accusation. Next thing we know, Commissioner Sarnoff will be accused of starting the Boston fire.

April 01, 2014 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a joke. First off, as far as a "bus shelter", what is really needed there is a roof. I challenge anyone to stand in the Miami sun/rain waiting for a bus. In fact, if you look closely, there are people leaning against the glass of the stores getting shade from the awnings. The older woman as well is getting shade from the huge sign. It wont do much help when it rains or the sun shifts...
Second it is just waay too huge. It blocks the view of people waiting at the bus stop. It blocks the view of motorists, it's almost blocking the view of the Parking sign.
And due to the size it will certainly be obnoxiously bright and probably will be jsut the start. I mean heck, if they allow one LED sign why not 7-8? On Bayshore Drive, Tigertail, Main Hwy, 27th Ave?


April 01, 2014 10:36 AM  
Blogger F. said...

I think swlip nailed it with his comment. If you really want businesses to strive and for the Grove economy to improve, you have to open to what that entails..CHANGE!

Also, I always wonder how many of you who go on this board and complain about the Grove, actually support the Grove and its businesses?

I really don't know much about Sarnoff but I find it hard to believe that this man is responsible for EVERYTHING that is happening in the Grove. And in any case who elected him? If you all despise this man so much why don't you organize a recall?

To much is said but very little is done.

April 01, 2014 10:58 AM  
Anonymous Al Crespo said...

As part of Sarnoff's 2007 campaign, he created a flyer regarding his position on billboards. Here is the link:

Soon after getting elected, he changed his position 180 degrees,and now supports all of the items that he initially objected to in 2007.

As just one example, in 2007 he opposed outdoor advertisements on vacant and neglected buildings. He now allows billboards on 2 vacant buildings inside the OMNI CRA boundaries.

In 2010, as the Chairman of the City Commission he led the effort to allow Marc Siffin to put several 240 foot media towers that would contains multiple LED billboards on top of the 11 story parking garage that Siffin planned to build on part of the Miami Herald property.

A review of his campaign finances reveals that he has taken the maximum amount from just about all the billboard companies and their executives since he changed his position.

On October 31, 2012, I wrote a long. detailed story about how Sarnoff openly and flagrantly lied about the permitting that was done by the City of Miami allowing the illegal electronic screen that is draped across the front of the AAA Arena. It was a classic Sarnoff performance, and the one that prompted me to start calling him names that I'm not allowed to call him on this website.

When it comes to billboards, murals and street signs that benefits the companies that control these signs within the City Limits, you can absolutely bet that Sarnoff has reviewed and approved them all.

If he didn't start the Boston Fire, it's only because he wasn't there at the time.

April 01, 2014 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lady enjoys the shade, plus this is also hooked up to the emergency notification system. For example: remember the recent Haiti earthquake, which lead to the discovery of a major fault on the Northwestern portion of Haiti and if this slope experiences a quake and slid into the ocean one of the first waves to hit would target the Keys and of course Coconut Grove in about 37 minutes.
So it could save some of our lives giving us time to catch a nearby elevator to higher ground!

April 01, 2014 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All hail the life saving LED billboard!!! it's here to protect us.

In that case, let's get 50 more of them, one for every corner. LED billboards are our only hope!

April 01, 2014 1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on people! It's April Fools Day! LED signs saving our lives. LOL. I've been in a Tsunami warning and we all managed to survive without an LED sign!

April 01, 2014 4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Imagine bimbo's & counterparts, you're sitting in the Grove drinking, smoking pot or just hanging out & don't know left from right, up or down, this way or that way and a Tsunami warning comes - - - - better yet stay where you are! The rest of us shall head for higher ground like the pigs, cows, dogs, cats and other intelligent life forms.

April 01, 2014 6:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When billboard company executives meet they laugh at how easy it is to control local elected officials. Sometimes it only takes $2,000-$3.000. Unfortunately, Sarnoff is just another sleazy elected official being controlled by billboard companies.

April 01, 2014 6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one said LED signs were here to protect us. You dim wits read so much into a simple fact/statement. The comment said this LED sign was hooked into the emergency response grid, which could or might save some lives and U dim wits then invoke the name Mark Sarnoff. You folks do more to prove Mr. Sarnoff is way, way, WAY far ahead of U dim wits! Please keep making dim wit comments.

April 01, 2014 7:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Mr. Sarnoff for doing so much to save our lives from every evil menace of nature day and night, I wish we could clone you and put one of you in every elected and official position.

April 01, 2014 7:28 PM  
Anonymous Swlip said...

Charles Corda:

I appreciate the Grove's character as much as anyone. It's why I've lived here for 17 years and can't imagine living anywhere else. But let me address one of your comments because I think it's representative of what I see as the central problem in the Grove's progress:

"We need to have tighter controls on what gets built and placed here."

First, it is precisely this urge to regulate everything in sight that creates barriers to entry for local businesses. I hear a lot about how we should do more for locally owned businesses in the Grove. However, restricting what gets built makes legacy property more valuable, thus raising rents and squeezing out everyone but the large chains that can afford to absorb the costs.

It also raises the cost of maintaining or improving legacy properties, thus driving rents even higher.

Second, imposing controls on architecture makes sense for a truly historic area. I lived in a very old city in Europe for several years, and witnessed the choices and compromises that had to be made to balance the interest of preservation against economic growth and the need to modernize infrastructure.

The center Grove is not that place. Cocowalk, Mayfair, Commodore Plaza, McFarland and Main Hwy are lined by kitsch. The center Grove has no unique architectural legacy. It would be more honest to demolish Cocowalk and replace it with a gas station than to claim that it was worth preserving Cocowalk or any other building within a four-block radius.

If we were honest with ourselves, we would also look at the fact that the Grove now has competition from other parts of town. Those areas have developed into attractive destinations because leaders were open to new ideas. The constant theme in the Grove, however, is that new ideas are regarded with suspicion, at best. My God, I didn't vote for Marc Sarnoff, but to hear people talk around here you'd think he was a member of the Illuminati.

I wouldn't like to see the Grove become another Brickell or Design District. Indeed, if I want to be in those places they are a relatively short drive away. But I don't think that the Grove is being well-served by the hidebound mentality that seems to prevail around here.

April 01, 2014 9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Imagine a Grove with a dozen LED billboards flashing obnoxious ads at every busy intersection?

April 01, 2014 11:16 PM  
Anonymous swlip said...

Liliana Dones:

Another possible explanation for the sign's location is that a ready power source was already there. But let's not allow such thoughts to get in the way of a good conspiracy theory.

April 02, 2014 9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Van Wagoner FKA FUEL Outdoor chooses locations based on visibility. They want to distract as many residents and tourists as possible. After all, forced distraction is the purpose of billboards.

April 02, 2014 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Liliana Dones said...

to swlip:

I don't understand your comment to me. There is nothing in my earlier comment that seeks any explanations, nor am I interested in developing theories, conspiratorial or otherwise, for the sign's location. The sign's been there for a long time and nobody cared, and now that it just got super sized, it's getting noticed. It's there because that is a designated Bus Stop, and as such it is allowed to have "Bus Shelter" advertisement as arranged by the City and MTA with media companies.

I maintain that it is hypocritical on the part of the City, MTA and the media company to call it a Bus Shelter if there is no actual shelter in place for those who wait for the bus, and that they should act responsibly and provide adequate shelters like those of the County. Always wanting to look on the bright side of life, I hope they will pick up on this suggestion, which I have been making since the last administration, and bring this about.

April 03, 2014 11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I for one cannot wait until the LED billboard goes live. It will not only save lives from the impending tsunami, but I heard that it will start solving mysteries around the grove and spring to life to prevent crime.


April 04, 2014 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The impending tsunami", what impending tsunami are you referring to? And how would this LED billboard "prevent crime"? Where do you people come from?

April 05, 2014 4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that Sarnoff allows and encourages billboards on sidewalks is a crime. Anyone review his donor list?

April 09, 2014 10:06 AM  

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