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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The McFarlane Homestead and Coconut Grove

A reader sent me these photos. He's upset with the direction that Coconut Grove is going. It's been turned into a developer's dream. For years they have been constructing ugly townhouses, cramming as much as possible into one plot of land. Parts of Village West - west of Douglas Road, are in Coral Gables in a plat called the McFarlane Homestead. 

That area continues to be zoned single family residential and is historically designated. New construction requires approval by design board as well as historical and preservation board.


Historic and beautiful. 
On the other side of Douglas, the Coconut Grove side, it was zoned single family residential, but changed to duplex for more density and greater property taxes. Coconut Grove, the most historic place in the county, never applied for historic designation. Faux Mediterranean was popular for years but now the trend is for big white boxes. No need to be approved by a design board or historical and preservation board. 

I once wrote an article calling Matilda Street the Ugliest Street in the Grove, but that dubious honor could be given to any residential street these days. The cookie cutter houses go in as historic houses are knocked down, along with foliage.
Pretty soon, the Grove will have no character and all these out of towners who are in to build, make a killing and leave will have the last laugh.

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 Dexter said...

One positive thing about the gentrification of parts of the West Grove, it is a lot safer with a better quality of living.
Being a homeowner since 2003, I have observed a dramatic drop in crime, especially drug dealing, at least North of Grand Avenue.
Not sure about the South side of Grand Avenue though.

August 10, 2016 7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fifteen years ago and out of ignorance I thought these duplex town houses, Mac-mansions, were well constructed and most look pleasant, lots of footage for families, stable tax base, for stable families, close to everything - - - - now it takes me 4 red lights to get anywhere, hundreds of cars parked partially on roadways causing pedestrians, baby carriages and pet walkers to enter traffic lanes, etc., etc., and etc, all negative. If I had known the end results I would have sat in front of Miami City Hall, been a nuisance at meetings, make life miserable for all of them, at city hall and their homes, probably outside of Coconut Grove. So, now that this is the new reality, how can we turn this into something positive? Jobie Steppe

August 10, 2016 8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's no drug dealing because know body come to our Grove anymore

August 10, 2016 8:52 AM  
Blogger Lance said...

To Jobie
You should get a girlfriend, stop complaining about everything and perhaps move to Mountdora.What tipe of person complain about baby's stroller and pedestrians.Another solution : buy those houses .Sopt ataking every one and evrithing , karma is a bitch.

August 10, 2016 9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bitch bitch bitch. It's all you people seem to know what to do. The City builds a park on the waterfront and you complain about the benches. New residents are moving into the Grove and you experience a drop in crime and you complain about the traffic. New restaurants open up and you complain the price of a beer is too high.

Who do you people think you are? What gives you the right to criticize everything and everyone that isn't part of your little "Grovitte Clan". Just because you don't like the style of Architecture that is popular doesn't make it ugly. Just because you don't understand zoning codes and how tree mitigation works doesn't make what developers are doing illegal. Just because you don't like change doesn't give you the right to complain about who and what is moving into the Grove.

If you don't like the direction of the Grove....move. I'm sure you can sell you house to one of these greedy developers that you complain about so feverishly for a lot more then you could 5 years ago and you can move to somewhere that no one else wants to live so you can be happy.

Long time resident and Groveitte: Hank B.

August 10, 2016 9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen Hank B.

August 10, 2016 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good gosh Lance, where U learn to spell? And what about comprehension. I'm not a rocket scientist, but - - - - Read my comment again.
I said it now takes 4 red lights for me to get out of Coconut Grove. And all those cars parked at all those MacMansions, partially on roadways cause pedestrians, mostly women pushing baby carriages, and pet owners to move onto the roadways, into traffic, which places women, babies, pets and their owners in danger. Any logical person would realize my emphasis, my concern was about those forced into the street. When I observe women, baby carriages and pet walkers on the street, I slow to about 5 MPH, but most traffic just keep going 25/30 & 35 MPH. As far as I'm concerned the City could block off most streets to make it safe for women pushing baby carriage and pet owners to walk around the Grove SAFELY. I have 5 children, the youngest is 44, and once a stupid irate drivers missed my youngest, at about age 4, by about 8 inches, doing about 40 MPH. Do you understand now Lance? Lance, it's the people parking partially on the streets and speeders I dislike, not the innocent pedestrians Lance, Get It? Jobie Steppe

August 10, 2016 10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although I agree with Hank B., Bitch, bitching and bitchers (no such spelling) is a great psychological stress relieving outlet, which is partially why millions, if not billions of folks around the world can do hourly or daily, or when they feel a need, namely about their local and state governments, or their neighbors and friends, using their own name or anonymously. I never read blogs until my name appeared in the Grape. I then went into the Grape's archives to read every blog and all the comments, from years ago. And I've now have read all the blogs and comments regarding the Georgia Guidestones? It appears every major world corporation attempts to read anything and everything, including blog comments to try and figure out how to sell everyone their products. In fact, it appears the largest computer in THE WORLD that collects data on everything is in Boca or Pompano, Florida. I'm no good with all this modern stuff, computers, cell phones, texting, but this commenting is fun. Jobie Steppe

August 10, 2016 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I used to come to the grape to read news and get updates about the all Tom does is incite negativity in the community. I do not understand why so many people who come on the Grape to vent DONT JUST MOVE if they hate it so much. We are fortunate to live in such a beautiful place. People need to relax and enjoy life rather than spend so much energy on spreading negativity.

Grove resident

August 10, 2016 11:47 AM  
Blogger Mark Weiser said...

It amazes me that so many peeps here don't realize that what they consider the "New & Improved" Coconut Grove is also disappearing & soon they will join those they bitch at in lamenting their Great Loss.

August 10, 2016 6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There continues to be a proliferation of big white boxes in the Grove and especially in the West Grove. There may soon be a dangerous shortage of white paint. Many of them look just like medical offices. It won’t be too long before the zoning is once again changed to accommodate doctors. By the way, there is much less crime in the McFarlane Homestead area than in West Grove. It may be due to the fact that the Gables has respected their single family zoning and protected the community from the onslaught of speculators and transient residents. Needless to say the City of Miami has not demonstrated the same amount of care with the West Grove.

August 11, 2016 1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These photos speak for themselves. They cleary explain the difference betweem the two neighborhoods as well as the vision of Coral Gables and The City of Miami. They prove the value of saving a community through respecting zoning and the consequences of irresponsible up-zoning. Are more density, more traffic, more property taxes, more cookie cutter designs worth the cost of the devastating impact on our once unique and quaint neighborhoods?

August 11, 2016 3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all the pro development people posting their rebuttals here... There is something very wrong with you who don't see the value in preserving the character that attracted you to the Grove AND that you don't care a hoot for beautiful old trees and diverse foliage> I bet you think clearcutting timber is fine as long as new seedlings of some weak fast growing single species hybrid replace it. You are part of the ugliness and anger permeating our country...the Trump crowd who blame our problems on the people who have been silently working to fix the mess the UglyShallow people cause. You think you know why you are bothered about 'complainers' trying to save something but the anger comes from the void inside you and your narrow minds. You think everyone just cares about money, like yourself. Simply put, you lack depth and insight. I will not tell you to leave the place just stop sharing your stupid perspectives, please.

August 16, 2016 7:14 PM  

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