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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Park Avenue saga goes on

Some of you were upset that I brought up the subject of the house on Park Avenue, claiming that I allowed the owners to be attacked before they had a chance to respond. But they did respond, I have a whole story on Ray Castellanos' response.

I did not mention names in the first story and only talked about the issue because this is a big issue in Coconut Grove, and if it doesn't seem to pertain to you, it is very important to these neighbors who have been trying to figure out the fate of the house for the past six months. Plus, this house is just one example of what has been going on in the Grove for years.

To clarify some other things, I asked more questions of Authentic Construction and Ray's partner Manny Fernandez answered them. Here they are below, in blue, but it seems more confusing than ever. Ray tells me they are trying to save the house, Manny says here that they aren't. Ray says the floors are soft, the traffic light and that intersection are not good quality of living in that house and termites are a problem. He says he is in no rush to do anything, he is living in the house. "I don't have a plan yet," says Ray.

I heard from someone involved with the sale of the house, and was told that Ray had someone else purchase the house with the promise that he would develop the land and flip it and they would share the profits. The previous owner pulled the demolition permit, they felt that it would help the sale of the house and that the permit would never be approved because of the significance of the house, but for some reason, the permit was approved.  Ray and his benefactor waited until the permit was approved and then they struck. Ray and his family moved into the house and we're at this point now. There was a feeding frenzy of developers who wanted the property. This is the case with every property that goes up for sale now where there is a lot of land.

Here is Manny, Ray's partners's response from Authentic Construction:

In response to your inquiries below:

Ownership: Ray has an ownership stake in the home via his ownership in the limited liability company under which the home was purchased.   
Demo permit: The demolition permit was applied for in June 2015 by the previous homeowner, two months before we purchased the home. We chose to continue pursuing the demolition permit as the process was already underway. Nothing was "snuck under the radar." Quite the contrary...we conducted numerous meetings with zoning and historical staff members at the City of Miami, and furthermore consulted with an archaeologist, the Director of HistoryMiami, and Bob Brennan who is currently the highly respected arborist for Fairchild Tropical Garden and a native of Coconut Grove.  Letters were also issued to neighbors notifying them that this process was underway.
Lot orientation: Ray stated that he was clear on the fact that the two lots are facing Douglas however the intent is to reorient the lots towards Park Ave due to the restricted and unsafe access from 37th Avenue.   
Unidentified trees: As stated above, Bob Brennan has been consulted throughout the process and was retained in September 2015 to provide a detailed report that included a list of all trees on the property.  He spent several weeks tagging and photographing the trees on the property.  His initial report was missing one tree that he was unable to initially identity, however he eventually identified the tree and completed the arborist certification report.  I suspect that your source is referring to an outdated report and/or survey.  We continue to consult with Mr. Brennan and met with him on site as recently as last week.
Columns: We committed, in writing, to salvage the existing porch columns via donation to the History Miami Collection, or by incorporating them into the design of the home.  The columns are still pending authentication, however they will be salvaged nonetheless.

This is not the end of this. Neighbors are steamed and banding together to stop the house from being destroyed.

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...

GOOD GOD, Imagine being born today having to deal with taxes, driving, is the food safe, world governments - not to mention our own USofA, war, climate change, over-population, etc., etc., and etc? At times it's a privilege to be ignorant and ignore all this stupid man made crap! RAY, simply enjoy life and ignore all this and do what's in your heart, go fishing and enjoy your family. Jobie Steppe

April 27, 2016 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And what was torn down to build these neighbors houses? Or are all of the neighbors angels from heaven sent down by the almighty to demonstrate how much holier than thou each may be.

The most common architectural element in coconut grove is people throwing stones from in front of their glass houses.

April 27, 2016 12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just because you've been asleep at the wheel for the last 30 years DOES NOT give you the right to attack this guy, who seems to be honest, communicative, entirely within the law, and trying to communicate to you jackals.

You're all mad at a million other things and yourselves. so distasteful.

April 27, 2016 1:02 PM  
Blogger Vic said...

The message here is f everyone, we're going to make money and who cares if it is an historic home with beautiful trees/canopy on the property. I hope there is a way to stop this. I live in the North Grove (between 22nd and 27th avenues) and just yesterday they bulldozed a house on Kirk for what will presumably be another white box to be sold to someone who has no idea of the history of the Grove or cares about the vegetation and canopy. There have been many homes demo-ed recently in this area. Tom, thank you for bringing continued attention to this issue. If you look at the area of the North Grove, where I live, you will see more of the travesty that is the distasteful development in this area.

April 27, 2016 1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sold a small old Florida house on Douglas Road, not many years ago, with a " promise" they would keep all the big old oaks and many, many fruit trees. The lot was not a full 200 feet frontage, (50 ft. minimum each lot) but they managed to fit 4 (four) big huge houses on that property. I was amazed and horrified. There is hardly enough space between the houses to walk between them. All the mature trees GONE. Ugly. It seems no matter what anyone says, the developers just do as they like. Everyone has been saying the same thing for years now, over building, stripping away the old growth trees, save the Grove. It's a great big farce.

April 27, 2016 3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letters were NOT sent to neighbors. I live 500 feet from this house and I never received a certified letter that is required by law to be sent before the permit is issued. They are developers and they have every intention of destroying this property. They are in it for PROFIT and the only way to accomplish that is knocking it all down and building whatever they want. It's a crime.

April 28, 2016 2:12 PM  
Anonymous Old house owner said...

Did people protest when a few doors down on Park Avenue a 6,378 sq ft house on a .28 plot was built in 2005? Has anyone actually looked at Park Avenue and noticed how many McMansions are currently crammed in? Where are all the ORIGINAL houses? Are these McMansion owners nervy enough to protest a neighbor doing the SAME thing ? . How many of you live in a house that is ORIGINAL to its plot? How many of you would sell your house to the highest bidder?

May 06, 2016 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Park Avenue Resident said...

Anonymous who said "I live 500 feet from this house and I never received a certified letter that is required by law to be sent before the permit is issued. They are developers and they have every intention of destroying this property. They are in it for PROFIT "
Was your house built by a non-profit organization???

May 06, 2016 9:06 PM  

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