See Something; Say Something In West Grove

Since my last visit the house has
been cited for a by law infraction.

When I attended the meeting at Plymouth Congregational Church for South Grove residents to complain that developers have been allowed to get away with lot splitting and building Big White Boxes in their exclusive neighbourhood, there was one repeated piece of advice from the Miami officials to the homeowners:

If you see something?
Say something! 
As I wrote in Coconut Grove in Black and White:

Meanwhile, South Grove residents were told on Wednesday night if they see anything hinky happening in their neighbourhood — from illegal tree-cutting to demolitions without a permit — to call By-Law Enforcement. I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that they respond a lot quicker than they have to this disaster on Charles Avenue in West Grove.

That disaster on Charles Avenue was finally cleaned up. However, it took over 6 weeks to get a gigantic pile of demolished house removed.

Maybe “See something; Say something” is advise that only applies to the residents of South Grove. Because last week, in Unpacking Coconut Grove & The Writer, I introduced you to 3678 William Avenue, a house on the next block over from Charles. Very little has changed since I visited.

This won’t deter any kids, the homeless, or crackheads.

As I was taking pictures last week I listened to someone on their cell phone reporting the address to City of Miami officials. It had already been reported to the NET office previously, according to my source.

The only thing that’s changed since last week is that Miami inspectors cited the house for a By Law infraction. Additionally, a lock has been placed on the front gate, presumably by the owner because that’s not the kind of thing the city does. However, that fence is 3 feet tall, tops. Any child older than 2 can easily climb over it, which is what the reports are meant to prevent.

Unlocked houses are attractive to kids. When I was taking my pictures last week there were a couple of kids playing in the street right outside the house. I know if I lived in the neighbourhood I’d have been all over this place as a kid.

The house remains unlocked and open to anyone who wants to get inside.

It really does no good to just slap a By Law infraction notice on the house and a bicycle lock on a gate that anyone can climb over. This house needs to be sealed. Children can get seriously hurt in it. There are signs that people have been sleeping in it and it is a potential safe haven for crackheads.

According to the City of Miami property search website this house is owned by LEMANO INVESTMENTS LLC. , a company that owns 19 other properties in Miami, the only place that I’ve bothered to search. The registered agent’s name & address is: MOYAL ACCOUNTING SERVICES INC, 10796 PINES BLVD, SUITE 204, PEMBROKE PINES, FL 33026. The manager of that company is listed as HENRY, FREDERIC, 2550 SOUTH BAYSHORE DRIVE, COCONUT GROVE, FL 33133, a pretty ritzy address, if you ask me. I can’t imagine why they cannot afford to buy a few pieces of wood to seal this house. Maybe somebody from the city should give them a call and ask.

BTW: Along with the notice slapped on the house, the city sends a registered letter to the owner. However, it needs to be asked: How many previous citations have been slapped on this house since I first started taking pics of it 7 years ago?

If the owner won’t do the right thing, the City of Miami needs to show up with some plywood and seal the front and back doors and charge it back to the owner. From my understanding this house has been reported to the City of Miami enough times that the city might find itself legally liable if something terrible were to happen now.

I ended Coconut Grove in Black and White by drawing a stark camparison between West Grove and South Grove:

As South Grove meets with their elected representatives, West Grove is as ignored as ever. As South Grove begins the task of forming a Homeowners Association, West Grove is quietly gentrified without anyone noticing. When will West Grove get the same kind of attention from the City of Miami as South Grove? 

Would this disaster have gone this long in South Grove without the city taking action? Or is “See something; Say something” just an empty slogan — like FAIR & BALANCED — no matter what part of District 2 you live in?

Inquiring minds want — no, need — to know.


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Headly Westerfield
Headly Westerfield
Calling himself “A liberally progressive, sarcastically cynical, iconoclastic polymath,” Headly Westerfield has been a professional writer all his adult life.