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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

About those trees

People are shocked that I was so lenient with Maurizio Farinelli about the trees he killed at Commodore and Grand. I think I may have been shocked at my own response. I don't know why I didn't get more upset, I think that after the massacre on Commodore and the massacre at the Stirrup House in the name of progress and all the other massacres around town including the mangroves at the Marine Stadium site, that I may just be numb to it. I think the bottom line is that greed is going to win out and there is nothing we can do about it. We had a nice tree vigil that time, but it didn't bring the trees back. In 2012, Tree Watch called out a "death sentence" for many of the trees on Commodore Plaza.

I was fuming when I first saw the trees were down. I called Ron Nelson at the Commissioner's office, he then was fuming, he called the BID and PointeGroup and they were fuming. But while we were all fuming, the deed was done. The trees were gone.

It took a week for me to get to speak to Maurizio, he kept insisting that I come to him, but I was so furious, I didn't want to speak in person. After missing each other for a few days by phone, we ended up speaking on Sunday morning by phone. I guess by then, I had cooled down.

One of my friends couldn't believe my take on the situation and he scoured the Grapevine for advertisements from Strada or the new Farinelli place, just assuming that I "sold out." One comment said, "And since when does the Grape "JOKE" and endear folks who cut down tree's in our Grove?" I was ashamed when I read that.

We live in a world of greed, especially in Miami. It's all about green, but not being green. I don't know how or when it started. Most of us didn't grow up like that. We were taught to respect our environment. But now the developers and business owners see dollar signs on every corner and the rest of us along with the trees are plowed down in the process.

I am assuming that Maurizio will make good on the area that was destroyed and I am sure that many of us will make sure that it happens. Trees are like children to Grovites. Remember that hack job at the post office when all the old trees were massacred in 2007? People are still sick about that.

Just recently I ended up in the middle of a neighbor vs. neighbor tree skirmish.

I guess Maurizio likes to think of himself as being a Grovite. But he's not, because he just doesn't get it. What's ironic here is that the Drum Circle was chased out of this area because they were considered a liability, when in reality, the actual business owner is the liability.

I'm sorry for letting my guard down. It won't happen again. Killing nature is not acceptable.

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 James said...

Maurizio should just save his time, effort and money and move his businesses to Brickell or Wynwood now. No sense in trying to improve the "dying or already dead" Center Grove that is constantly complained about on this blog. Go now and help improve an area that wants your business. Then when all the same people complain about why no businesses want to open up in the Grove, we can point them back to this story. Maybe with all the empty buildings the crazy hippies can relive the sixties and dance and play with their bongos wherever they want.

July 21, 2015 7:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't be hard on yourself - always willfully placing yourself (blogs) between a rock and hard space. The comment "JOKE" & endear was a question, not a judgment call. The important point is the Grape informs us Grove folk and how we react to the Grape Blog, the facts and issues you lionize is called democracy. So THANKS!

Jobie Steppe

July 21, 2015 8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

James, as a 30-something professional living in the Grove, I can assure you I'm not a hippie reliving the sixties. In fact, normally I disagree with the Grapevine and some of the rabidly anti-development comments on this site. But here, Farinelli admits that he brazenly violated the city's permitting system. His alleged ignorance of the permit requirement is both difficult to believe and immaterial to the violation. In other cities where a developer has removed trees in the public right-of-way without a required permit, the developer has been required to pay a fine sufficient to cover the cost of replacing the trees (see, e.g., ). Here, a settlement of $100k would likely cover the cost to the city of replacing the trees with ones of equivalent size.

This isn't a case of NIMBYism or of anti-development interests seeking to prevent permissible development; this is a question of respect for the law. If the end result of enforcing the regulations on the books in Coconut Grove is that business owners desert the area for other, more corruptable areas of town, so be it.

July 21, 2015 9:10 AM  
Anonymous Jo said...

James, there is really no need for the hyperbolic diatribe. Chopping down healthy, mature trees without a permit is not a capital improvement for Center Grove - the greatest appeal the Grove has, is its canopy.

As if capitalism can't be achieved successfully unless you scorch the earth and break the law.

BTW, I'm neither an old Groveite or a crazy hippy. I also don't play bongos or do drum circles. But I do like shade from a scorching sun. And I'm a huuuuge fan of oxygen.

Grape, can you please post some photos?

July 21, 2015 9:26 AM  
Blogger madreperla said...

I will personally not eat at Strada any more nor at his new venture. If only everybody would act accordingly, that would hurt Mr. Farinelli's pretentious landscape plans. An Italian garden? Who cares? Who does he think he is. I wish he would need to pay the 100K fine. That would make me happy at least that he cant get away with whatever he wants. I am still hurt by the Pine trees at Kennedy, by the tree massacre in the Post office, but yet, nothing seems to happen in a city where only money and developers have a voice. I am furious. As I don't shop at the coconut grove Home Depot, I wont eat at his restaurants, and I will spread the voice. At least I have my mind in peace.
Amalia Caputo

July 21, 2015 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Jack said...

I just pulled out of the Post Office parking lot saw how terrible the corner looks without those 2 trees. They should make the person responsible sit on that metal bus stop bench in the sun for 30 days.

July 21, 2015 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was speechless at the sight of those perfectly healthy trees, he should be fined dearly along with the property owner and the tree trimming company, they all knew very well oak trees are protected in Florida, there is even incarceration time by law for such callousness, where was code enforcement, all involved lawbreakers are friends of Sarnoff and they will get away with whatever they want.

July 21, 2015 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

6 months with Bubba will teach them a lesson

July 21, 2015 3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The impact of losing those trees is so drastic walking down grand.

There is literally nothing that can be done to right this wrong.

July 21, 2015 3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the City has issued a violation? I cut down 8 palms in my yard and replaced them with as many mango and avocado's that are all producing fruit. The City fined me $250.00, per day per tree over a period of about 3 years for a lien of about $821,000.00, and the cities attorney's fees were about $700.000.00 - - - until they learned in federal court that palms are not trees. WAS FARINELLI ISSUED A VIOLATION?

July 21, 2015 5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is Farinelli's relationship with the commissioner? How is it that anyone who wants to join the commissioner's club must kill trees?

July 21, 2015 5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forward this blog to all Miami commissioners and the city manager. Send it to all your friends.send it to the Miami Herald and the New Times and any other relevant publication you can think of. Stay away from the restaurants of people that hold our community in such low regard. Follow up on the process at City Hall. This can not be swept under the rug. We can impact this self serving behavior. Somewhere we have to draw yhe line and do what we can. If city hall does not follow thru correctly then we have to root out the persons that let us down. This cannot be swept under the rug. Hold their feet to the fire no matter who their political connections might be.

July 21, 2015 5:38 PM  
Anonymous Marilyn said...

Did you know that in Carmel, California, it is a criminal offense to cut down a tree??? Everything is built around them! And, they protect them during construction with a wire mesh glove!!

July 21, 2015 5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a die-hard capitalist I will react with my pocketbook and never step foot in any restaurant owned by someone so disdainful of his neighbor's sensibilities. I suggest that anyone that feels that the owner doesn't care about the neighborhood he chose to locate his business in should do the same. There are plenty of other options in the Grove to spend your hard earned money in.

July 21, 2015 6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I definitely will not patronize any commercial venture owned by this guy. I appreciate what Tom does with the Grapevine to keep the community informed. I have lived here for two decades and have come to rely on the Grapevine for news around the Grove. As neighbors, we may not agree on everything but I think the majority of Grapevine readers want the Grove to be a better place to live. It really bothers me when people cut down trees knowing that the fine they receive will be a drop in the bucket. They do it willing with total contempt and disrespect for the law. I'm still chapped over the old Doubletree Hotel at Bayshore and Darwin chopping down the magnificent old tree in front of the entrance.

As Grovers, we need to use our wallets, our voices, and votes to better the quality of life of our beloved village.

July 21, 2015 6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does the law say about cutting down Oak trees here without permit? City, County and Sate officials please respond.

July 21, 2015 7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the company he used if he used a company they should also be held liable. A reputable tree company will know you need permits. This is unacceptable if this is how he treats nature and the community imagine what he thinks of patrons. Just pay for my food and leave I do not care b/c another person will walk in.We need to share this story.

July 21, 2015 9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe that Pointe Group knew now what he was planning to do. Fuming? I believe they are great actors...

July 21, 2015 10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People complain about 2 trees, endlessly, calling it a bloody "Massacre" and all, while they'll probably either be replaced, or 10 more new trees will be planted around.

Then again, when you have a de-construction Disaster like we had on 27th AVE for years, and years, and years, everything was cool. No one hardly ever said a word.

Wait till the endless de-construction starts on Bird or Bayshore, for another decade.

There might be another "tree-massacre", or a major limb "amputation", so please stay vigilant and very alert. Especially if they mass-murder a few sacred Mangroves again, a species that is already virtually Extinct.

July 22, 2015 9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's comments like 9:06 am that should unite us against these shortsighted nitwits.

Why cut down a tree to 'replace it'? probably because you're not going to replace it at all, you're going to put in somethign different, which doesn't shade a major corner and effect the quality of the whole area.

you're either being intentionally fatuous, or you're just a horrid and supid person. I hope it's the former.

July 22, 2015 11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 9:06
No one said a word???? Where have you been? People just got hoarse complaining about it!

July 22, 2015 12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems Greenstreet is ecstatic Farinelli's created such a poopoo for himself.

July 22, 2015 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the trees that were cut down were on the public-right-of-way, then in addition to the fines, mitigation calls for the trees to be replaced in the same spot. The replacement would be done by Public Works Dept., but it will likely take them a while. Several years back, TreeWatch worked closely with PW to ensure that a tree on the right of way in front of Johnny Rockets, which had been hit by a car, got replaced. It took a lot of hounding, but eventually we got a new tree, and it thrives today.

By Grapevine taking the time to elaborate on this, and by people taking time to comment, hopefully the owner has learned that these trees, which may have appeared to be of little consequence, indeed mattered to the community. Losing those trees, and their shady canopy is a tragedy indeed, but boycotting the restaurant or wishing the owner ill is not going to get them back. What we need now is to encourage Mr. Farinelli to cooperate fully with the City to ensure that the LARGEST POSSIBLE TREES ARE PLANTED IN THE SAME, EXACT SPOT. -- COCONUT GROVE TREEWATCH

PS - By the way, to James at 7:35 am: you may be surprised to learn that many Brickell residents are also tree advocates. They now have BrickellWatch, and we are pleased to report that they like to protect their trees, too, just like we.

July 22, 2015 6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"replacement would be done by Public Works Dept., but it will likely take them a while"

July 23, 2015 12:23 AM  

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