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Wednesday, August 08, 2018

He's the type of neighbor we don't want

There's a story in the Herald about Andrew Rasken, a guy who purchased two wood-framed houses in Village West. He planned on demolishing the houses to build a large house on the property. They are located at 3295 and 3297 Charles Avenue, not too far from the Coconut Grove Playhouse. The sign out front should say, "Beware of Owner."

In the meantime, the small wooden houses on Charles Avenue were declared historic structures by the City and untouchable. Before he purchased the Charles Avenue houses Andrew had his eye on another Charles, he tried to demolish Charlie Cinnamon's cottage, but was turned down by the city and that area is now in the process of becoming "Charlie's Woods." He has a thing about destroying things named Charles and Charlie.

The irony now is that Andrew Rasken was placed on the HEP Board, the Historic and Environmental Preservation Board by none other than Commissioner Joe Carollo, who claims no knowledge of Andrew's hate for anything historic. Commissioner Ken Russell's pet project these days is to try to protect the wooden houses in the Grove. Coincidentally, Commissioner Carollo is not a friend of Commissioner Russell. 

It should be said that the wooden house issue is controversial and many homeowners don't want that for their homes 

Andrew Rasken allegedly destroyed his old wooden homes in Village West, so that they could be declared unsafe structures - he admitted that while cleaning the yard, somehow the properties got destroyed in sections, where big holes appeared in the wooden structures and allegedly he had load bearing boards removed so that the structures would collapse in on themselves. 

Putting Andrew on the HEP Board is sort of like putting the fox in the hen house. The bottom line is that someone who seeks to destroy history in Coconut Grove is now part of the Historic Environmental Preservation Board. His deliberate and hateful actions regarding the wooden houses should disqualify him from being on any preservation board.

Only in Miami.

The Herald has the whole story here.

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21 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Long time reader..first time poster.

I have an easy question .. what would you do if you found yourself in the same position as Mr. Rasken. You purchased a lot with an old wood frame house on it for a lot of money with the intension of building a house for your family and now the City has come by and declared that you can no longer remove this old house and in fact you now have to renovate it to its original state. You have basically lost a substantial amount of money overnight.

Before criticizing Mr. Rasken, walk a mile in his shoes...would you sit idly by and let the City basically rob you or would you put up a fight?

I'm curious to how people feel about this as it seems that the Grapevine and the people reading this blog are very quick to stand against any sort of development but I'm sure they have never found themselves in this position.

Sally L.

August 08, 2018 1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These houses, like almost all of the other shotgun houses, are decrepit beyond repair. The fact-of-the-matter is that NO ONE will sink tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars into rehabbing shotgun houses that are worth (and always will be worth) nothing more than the land that they sit on. Historic designation is NOT going to lead to preservation of these houses. Rather, it will lead to a certain slow deterioration of the homes as owners find that they are not worth repairing. These homes will serve as havens for homeless people and drug dealers -- an unwelcome addition to the neighborhood. Pie-in-the-sky limousine liberalism is going to only bring vice and negative externalities to the West Grove. These preservationists' hearts are in the right places, but they could benefit from a basic course in economics. Commissioner Russell thinks this move will win him over with voters int he West Grove, the only Coconut Grove constituents he appears to care about. Looking forward to electing a more representative commissioner in the next election.

August 08, 2018 2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ken Russell wants to save 3 shacks that no one wants to repair nor live in, and at the same time give away the peoples golf course to rich men?
Zero sense.

August 08, 2018 3:56 PM  
Blogger windphanatic said...

This is a case in which I would have to side with the developer. They are the only shotgun houses on the block and are decrepit. If the whole block was composed of these houses OK. If they where on a main road and could become commercial properties OK. But they are tucked away where almost no one will see them. I've actually ridden by these two houses many times and have never even noticed them.

Rather than preserving these two structures focus on making sure Mr. Rasken builds something that is more in tune with the neighborhood and not one of those huge two or three story white boxes.

August 08, 2018 4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with all the comments so far. What is the point of saving these houses? Why should the government decide what to do with your house> How would you like it if they came and decided that YOUR house is historic, for whatever reason, and that you can't do anything to it or tear it down if you want to? Are we getting to what they did on the Handsmaids' Tale?

August 08, 2018 4:41 PM  
Blogger Mark Weiser said...

Why would you buy two houses on the most historic street in Coconut Grove if all you wanted to do was tear them down?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Avenue.

In 2012 the City of Miami designated Charles Avenue an Historic Roadway to preserve the character of the historic lane.
https://coconutgrovegrapevine.blogspot.com/2012/07/charles-avenue-receives-historic.html

Doesn't this pre-date these purchases?

August 08, 2018 5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The properties are mostly land value only. The city should have bought the houses and restored them for resale. Pay the homeowners who want to leave market value for the land plus some contributory value for the improvements. Lots in the area are selling for upwards of $50 PSF of land for single family lots. But the guy should not be on the historic preservation board, that only makes sense in the City of Miami!

August 08, 2018 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In 2012 Charles Avenue was designated an historic right of way. Only the roadway, not of the properties along the roadway because it seems the property owners did not want designation of the structures.
Many of the original buildings on Evangeline Street/Charles Avenue were demolished long ago, and many were replaced as late as the 1930s as rental units. Not really related to the Bahamian or African-American culture of the early 20th century. The property in question was actually owned by a slumlord who for 15 years allowed his tenants to live in substandard housing, and it appears after learning of the historic designation process, without disclosure, sold the property for land value to Mr. Rasken. Even reporters and bloggers who know the name of this slumlord, who it seems never pulled a permit to do any repairs in the 15 years he owned these fragile old wooden homes, do not disclose his name.

August 08, 2018 6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check M.House (historic house) across the street, 3 feet of grass, looks disgusting.Ken is a moron communist taken advantage of black town for experiments.

August 08, 2018 7:45 PM  
Anonymous Swlip said...

Russell should find money to move these houses to a public park and turn them into museums, like the railroad barracks on Pigeon Key. Or use the City’s eminent domain power to buy him out. Forcing a property owner to bear such a burdensome cost, especially after he bought the property, is grossly unjust. It is, in essence, a tax on the individual property owner. Accusing the property owner of being a bad person, just for the crime of wanting to protect his investment, is frankly disgusting.

August 08, 2018 8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is really going on here is a small group of vocal residents wants to stop anyone and everyone from building a new home in the Grove. And Commissioner Russell is their pied piper. But there is a tremendous amount of inequality in the proposal for the West Grove because the city is putting the property owners in a straigh jacket. If you want to sell your property in the West Grove, you have all sorts of rules and regulations that the rest of the Grove does not have. How fair is that?

But now take a look about what is going on in the Village Center. Property owners have figured out a way to get around the rules to build tall buildings that will dwarf the small scale feel of our little downtown. It’s disgusting. So the City is giving out prizes to the guys paying large political donations and stomping on the rights of the property owners in the West Grove. Where is the fairness?

And don’t get me started about giving away our parking garage to a private developer and Melreese Golf Course to David Beckham and the Mas Tec group.

Anonymous above at 3:56 p.m. is spot on. And politicians wonder why they are distrusted and disliked. Geesh.

August 08, 2018 8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe Corollo is a vile racist disgraceful Cuban "American" who should have never been allowed to run for any office again.

August 08, 2018 8:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how many of the comments above are from the developer or his attorney?

August 08, 2018 9:12 PM  
Anonymous Debbie Dolson said...

At the HEP Board meeting on July 16, one Charles Avenue resident whose home has been designated historic commented, “I have been confused by the discussion about maximizing profits for developers and landlords when the question is about preserving the history of the community”. I agree with this comment. It’s not about money and profit. It’s about history.

August 08, 2018 9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Move them to Mery Christmas park so he can look at them and paint them every day!

August 08, 2018 10:38 PM  
Blogger Save the Coconut Grove Playhouse said...

With the rightful rise of the #METOO movement, Joe Carollo needs to be forced out of office just as others have. Make this happen NOW. It is criminal abd enabling of us to allow a man arrested for beating up his wife to remain in office or to have been eligible in the first place.

August 09, 2018 2:26 AM  
Blogger Travis McGee said...

Anon at 9:12PM makes a comment that is typical of Grove activists: When you don't have a reasoned argument, accuse those who oppose you of acting in bad faith.

And why shouldn't a property owner have the right to sit on the HEP board?

August 09, 2018 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe Carollo a proud George Wallace Presidential bid supporter, in 1979 admittedly put a Ku Klux Klan sign in a black fellow Miami police officer's mail box. While mayor of Miami assaulted spouse in front of their children and got away without a conviction. Resigned as Mayor of Miami and attended anger management courses and behavioral counseling. Compared Asian descended fellow Miami commissioner to now Trump darling Dictator Kim Jong Un. Andrew Rasken must be proud of the appointment. Someone needs to update Commissioner Joe Carollo's Wikipedia page.

August 09, 2018 2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe Carollo and Keon Hardemon are corrupt.

August 09, 2018 10:52 PM  
Blogger Grovewise said...

So here are 2 ideas from Atlanta:

https://atlanta.curbed.com/2018/8/3/17648938/cabbagetown-shotgun-home-bungalow-for-sale

https://atlanta.curbed.com/2018/8/10/17675242/west-end-bungalow-for-sale-new-construction

Lili Dones.

August 11, 2018 7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Google, better yet drive by 3128 New York St., in the Grove. My friend John bought this home to preserve long before the 1st MacMansion was built. He paid $300,00 and another $180,000.00 to renovate. It fell into slight disarray, I think due to cheap wood being used by the contractors so he hired me to do a few repairs back around 2002. Before typing this I drove by and was pleased to see someone else has brought this unit back to beautiful perfection. It's now for sale for $522,000.00, and stands out as unique completely surrounded by the MacMansions.
This, in my opinion proves the potential if a few people are willing to make the effort/expenditure. Jobie Steppe

August 12, 2018 12:14 PM  

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