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Monday, May 2, 2016

TEARING DOWN THE GROVE (One House at a Time)

    The City of Miami continues to hand out building demolition permits like candy on Halloween. I just learned of two more beautiful old houses slated for destruction,

1)  3950 Leafy Way and,


2) 3945 Loquat Avenue.

     You stand in front of them and think, "Tear 'em down?  Are they crazy?".  Of course they aren't.  They are just greedy sob developers who care nothing about the preservation or future of Coconut Grove.
     The builders want to cut down the trees, build the largest house they can, grab the money, and run. 

    Both of these two houses are on 100-foot lots that the developers may try to split (build two houses where there is now one). These lovely residences will fall unless Grovites fight to keep them, their neighborhoods, and their history intact.  

   Although it suppose to be public information, it is not easy to get the City of Miami to reveal,
A) Who has applied for demolition permits (sometimes called "waivers"),
b) Inform the public of who has been given these permits, and,
c) Let citizens know if adjoining neighbors have been properly notified of "demo" plans.

     There may be dozens of current permits issued  to destroy Coconut Grove houses and commercial buildings. Though it is not usually the case, some of them may be in poor condition and not worth saving.
     Here are the addresses of three more properties slated to be "demo'd", 3977, 3979, and 3983 Douglas Road (SW 37 Ave., next to the Kampong). I have not seen these houses. There are two more on Emathla and Noc-a-tee with death sentences.
     Neighbors rose up and saved a rare beauty on St. Gaudens Road last year.  We need more of this activism.  Last week we had a terrific community meeting, at Plymouth Church, to discuss this huge problem. I'll include thoughts on what can be done in my next column manana.


  1. Remember the City makes money from each permits issued and then the increase in the tax base with the new home. Sort of a conflict of interest! The more permits, the more money they get.

  2. The developers are not out to destroy historic buildings, they are buying these places because they are on large lots. If you pay $1,000, 000 for an old house on a 25,990 square foot lot and split it into 4 lots (see 4200 block of Grove st) that is 250.000 per lot. When the developer then builds four 5000 square foot houses with pools, septic systems, patios, and driveways, there will be no room for canopy trees except in the right of way. The old house is just collateral damage, the toxic e coli and other effluents from the aerobic septic system which will sicken the neighbors after a hurricane; just an unfortunate unforeseen outcome.
    If the city would simply enforce the present NCD-3 code which says that such sites can only be permitted for one single-family building permit there wold be much less of a problem.