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Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Will rezoning be the beginning of the end?

Ebenezer Woodbury Franklin Stirrup, a Bahamian immigrant who settled in the Grove, built a two story house at 3242 Charles Avenue, which stood until  a few years ago, when it was rebuilt (not restored). Mr. Stirrup ended up being one of the largest land owners in the Grove, he lived in the house until his death in 1957, at the age of 84. This is the original house a few years ago.

This is how the house was left to decay.

Now there is talk of rezoning part of Charles Avenue in order for the rebuilt Stirrup house to open as a Bed & Breakfast. But this rezoning is for an extension of that bed and breakfast which businessmen in the area are claiming will revitalize Charles Avenue.

It's a residential street, so what needs to be revitalized?

The Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board meets Wednesday, February 5 at 6:30 pm at City Hall. On the agenda is an item regarding this and other properties on the street " to change the future land use designtion from single family residential to low density restricted commercial" for six parcels on Charles and William Avenues. 

There are claims that the project approval will bring jobs to the area, and I don't doubt that. And Caribbean and Bahamian architecture will be respected. But my concern is that once the area is rezoned, what next?

I would love to see Charles Avenue turned into a sort of Magazine Street like they have in New Orleans - you know, businesses maybe lining the streets, coffee shops and what not, but in the houses that are there. I fear that once rezoning starts, so will demolition of these historic structures.

The house was rebuilt to original specs.

The proposal claims that the rezoning will "further revitalize the area and provide a buffer between the intense uses proposed at the Playhouse property and the residential uses located west of the property." Read that again - "intense uses proposed at the Playhouse property."

The site requesting rezoning was once a commercial site with 11 stores including a men's clothing store and an ice cream shop.

Ebenezer's descendant David Stirrup Porter, President of the Stirrup Properties and life-long resident of Coconut Grove, says he is enthusiastic about the approval of the Charles Avenue Grove Inn project. "I support the necessary rezoning related to the project. I have acquainted myself with the details of the initiative and I’m very supportive of it," he says.

The rebuilt house today.

One thing that bothers me is that the house was left to rot and fall apart for years without a care of saving it from decay. Now that there is money involved, the original house was rebuilt (not restored) and those who would benefit are in favor of changing zoning, which may open a can of worms in the future, and by can of worms, I mean development and destruction of the history of the street and neighborhood. It's right across from the Playhouse, which could add to that destruction of history in that area if it ends up in the wrong hands, and by wrong hands, I mean the county and developers, who are fighting to tear most of the playhouse down.

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.


Blogger Unknown said...

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February 05, 2020 12:10 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Extending and reconnecting streets behind the Playhouse and rezoning can help to remedy the social, cultural and economic hardships imposed on Miami’s most historic community during and after segregation ― when the City of Miami closed off streets and used barbed wire fencing to cut the once vibrant mixed-use historic Bahamian village, known as Kebo and the Little Bahamas, off from the Grove's commercial core ― as it remains today.

Looking around the Grove, you can see that there is a clear precedent for rezoning residential lots that are adjacent to commercial corridors. An incremental approach can lay the foundation for responsible development.

Check out my students' ideas on Facebook or Instagram -



February 06, 2020 10:32 AM  

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