Historic Homes and Out-of-scale Construction Update

August 2013.

The month of July was a turbulent one for Miami Beach historic preservation. While the wide spread destruction of historic homes continues unabated through out the city, Miami Design Preservation League’s continued efforts to keep a bright light on this issue has helped create some positive results.

The City Commission responded to the urgency of the problem at its July meeting and voted to move forward with an ordinance that will temporarily halt the issuance of demolition permits for pre-1942 architecturally significant homes. This was an important step and will give everyone concerned a chance to consider fair options to maintain the character of our residential neighborhoods and respect the rights of homeowners and their neighbors.

We applaud the ordinance’s sponsor Mayor Matti Bower and the commissioners who supported the measure.

At the same meeting, the City Commission also recognized the importance of offering incentives to homeowners to help them should they decide to preserve their houses. A new ordinance, written and supported by the city administration, contains creative ideas that will further the preservation of historic homes.

Combating the demolition of historic homes and the spread of McMansions destroying the character of the city is a difficult and complicated undertaking. MDPL is currently studying what has been done successfully in other parts of the country. These solutions will be part of the discussion that the Planning Board and City Commission will be consider in the months to come.

August 27: Planning Board will consider the ordinance to temporarily halt the demolition of pre-1942 architecturally significant homes.

September 23: City Commission Special Workshop on out-of-scale construction in residential neighborhoods and preservation of historic homes at 3 PM.

September 24: Planning Board meeting to consider out-of-scale construction in residential neighborhoods and preservation of historic homes.

In the meantime, MDPL continues to persevere in its efforts to save the historic home at 42 Star Island. An appeal of the Design Review Board’s decision to allow demolition has been filed with the courts. We are hopeful that this course will stop the senseless demolition of what has been called Miami Beach’s most prominent home.

MDPL has been successful in these efforts because of the support of its active membership. Your emails and presence at city meetings has helped in important ways. The City Commission and Administration has heard the voice of concerned residents and change is on the horizon.

Miami Design Preservation League
Art Deco Welcome Center, 2nd Floor
1001 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach, FL 33139

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