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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

First steps in protecting over-development

The Historic and Environmental Preservation Board (HEPB) met on July 5 to consider historic designation of the property at 3701 Park Avenue but they are having trouble finding sufficient evidence that the 100 year old house qualifies as historic. Of course that makes no sense as properties that are half that age have been considered historic. The fact that the new owners want to divide the property into more than one lot is not permitted under Miami21 NCD-3 code, so that should have some bearing on this case. The subject will be brought up at a future meeting.

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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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found it interesting that there was a Russell sign on this property for several weeks during election season which came down as he became the "Save the Grove" candidate. I guess I'm the only one that noticed.

July 19, 2016 5:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for helping protect Coconut Grove. As we talk about the larger picture of Global warming and other environmental issues, we forget that we can make a huge difference where we live. The Grove is just a beautiful place hugely because of the tree canopy and natural water front. Slowly we are cutting down trees, and filling the shore front with more and more cement. Not only destroying the natural beauty of the
Grove but also hurting our environment drastically. We need to not be so greedy - the all mighty dollar has come before environmental and preservation morals. I live with three current constructions. One next to me and two in front. Beautiful trees disappeared in the night and cement monsters crappily built by foreign investors took their place. While many ignored the dumping of trash and chemicals into storm drains. I'm happy to talk globally, but if you consider the Grove your home and actually not a transient place, then we must all do what we can to protect it. Especially when City officials may not care.

July 19, 2016 11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about "punishment" with teeth. Why not make these developers replant all the trees and rebuild a replica of the house?

July 19, 2016 1:04 PM  
Anonymous John Snyder said...

We are happy that many of the ideas reported in our Save the Grove 16 newsletter are being picked up by the Grapevine and for the wider audience it provides about this serious threat. However, I was not the author of this article, and do not know where the quote of Commissioner Russell came from. But, assuming it is accurate, we are pleased with the sentiment expressed and hope for good results at the next Commission meeting scheduled for Friday July 29 in the morning. Once the agenda is available we'll post it on Next Door & also let the Grapevine know. Thank you for your attention Ken.

July 19, 2016 3:02 PM  
Blogger Grapevine said...

Sorry we didn't get your permission to get a quote from the Commissioner John, we'll check with you for permission next time.

July 19, 2016 3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like someone is splitting the lot at 3210 Coachoochee (at the corner of Tigertail). If you look on the Miami-Dade Property page, it's shown as a single 18,000 s.f. lot, not as two lots. There are actually two signs up for 9,000 sq. ft. lots. Wonder if it's legal?

July 19, 2016 4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like it is a lot in NCD-3 and as sch it should not be split without a warrant. There has not been a warrant to split a lot in NCD-3 during the period from 2010 through 2016. Many lots have been split but no warrants.

July 19, 2016 5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Warrant-shmarrant! Single folio lots must not be split for the sake of preserving the quality of life of our neighborhoods.

July 20, 2016 8:11 AM  
Blogger John Snyder said...

Re splitting the lot at 3210 Coachoochee, checked on Ibuild Miami it says zoning denied for the building permit at that address:
ZONING LEGEND REQUIRED PER MIAMI21.ORG needs to be completely redone
showing correct zoning Designations as per Miami 21.
RIVERSIDE\CHerrera Apr/30/2015

still pending. needs to add the NCD-3 component to the
Zoning legend RIVERSIDE\CHerrera Jan/13/2016

So Carlos Herrera is doing his job at the Zoning department!!! is watching

July 20, 2016 2:49 PM  
Anonymous Andy Parrish said...

FYI Carlos Herrera started out 15 years ago as a Code Enf rookie in West Grove. He did a tremendous job then. Now he's in Zoning, which is great for the Grove. He's always been one of the good guys for us and the City.

July 21, 2016 10:45 AM  

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