Unpacking Coconut Grove ► Part Six ► Still Building With No Building Permit
The E.W.F. Stirrup House on Friday, August 24, 2012. Note
the used metal studs leaning against the building. Used
materials to build their chi chi Bed and Breakfast? How nice.

Another visit to Charles Avenue on Friday demonstrated beyond a doubt that (alleged) illegal work is still going on inside the E.W.F. Stirrup House. More troubling is the fact that there is still no Building Permit on display.

Earlier in the week I called the City of Miami to check up on my complaint about work proceeding without a Building Permit. I was told the file had been closed, but there was no other information available. When I expressed my concern, I was transferred to a Building Department supervisor. I left a detailed message requesting I be called back. I am still waiting for that return phone call.

Used metal studs.

I am also still waiting for a return call from Maurice Pons, identified
as the Chief of Inspections (Field) for the City of Miami Building Department. I left a detailed message during the week, expressing my concern about the (alleged) illegal work proceeding inside the historic, 120-year old E.W.F. Stirrup House and practically begged that someone get in touch with me so that I could be assured that an (alleged) rapacious developer was not (allegedly) getting away with something (allegedly) illegal. Begging didn’t help either.

The funny thing is, depending on your definition of funny: No matter who I am transferred to within the City of Miami phone system, I can NEVER get a human on the phone. They all have voice mail and they all studiously seem to avoid returning their calls. I have made dozens of calls only to get voice mail with no way to reach a human being. Of those dozens of calls, I have left at least 10 to 12 messages with various departments and City of Miami employees. I have yet to hear back from any of them.

The dumpster is fuller than it was earlier in the week and
the piles of trash are larger than they were earlier in the
week. All of this is just waiting to be picked up by this
weekend’s approaching Hurricane Isaac.

While on the same topic: I am still waiting for a reply from the City of Miami Office of Communications to my email of August 10, 2012. [See Unpacking Coconut Grove ► Part 6.1 ► An Open Email To The City of Miami] It was sent to “Press at Miamigov dot com,” an email address given to me over the phone by a recorded message when trying to get that department on the phone. One would think that, by now, I would have had a reply, even if it was to say, “Sorry, we can’t help you.” At the very least you’d think I would have received a acknowledgment that the email had been received. Oh, and again, there is no way to get that department on the phone or to return my calls either. It’s like falling into a black hole.

As a journalist of long-standing, I have had to call Mayors, Members of Parliament, Members of Provincial Parliament and city departments many times. I have never had this kind of trouble reaching someone by phone in my entire life. And, when I have left a message, I have always received a prompt call back. What the hell is going on at Miami City Hall?

RECAP: My complaint was closed with no other notations on
the file. Two City of Miami Building Department inspectors have failed
to return my phone calls, as have many other City of Miami employees.
Furthermore, the Media and Communications Department doesn’t respond to
Media and Press Inquiries. What the hell is going on at Miami City Hall?

This is just more proof that the owners
Grove Gardens Residence Condominiums
uses this property for unintended uses.
While at the E.W.F Stirrup House I
saw workmen carrying out piles of trash
and dumping them next to these doors.

I have been told many times, by many people far more knowledgeable about Miami politics than I, that the City of Miami Building Department is in the pocket of rich developers. It’s hard NOT to come to the same conclusion when I cannot even get simple answers to my simple questions from ANYONE in the Building Department or the Press Relations Department. What the hell is going on at Miami City Hall?

Meanwhile, there is continued evidence that (allegedly) illegal work is still proceeding within the E.W.F. Stirrup House without benefit of a Building Permit. Will anyone at Miami City Hall address this issue? Will anyone at Miami City Hall return my phone calls? Will anyone at Miami City Hall take any notice that a developer is (allegedly) doing whatever the hell he wants, despite the fact that he doesn’t even own the property, but merely has a 50-year lease on it? Stay tuned . . . .

Meanwhile, here are some more pictures taken yesterday which proves that (alleged) illegal work is still is ongoing inside the historic 120-year old E.W.F. Stirrup House without benefit of a building permit and that workers within the Grove Gardens Residence Condominiums (immediately behind the Stirrup House) are using the property to dump their trash.

These trash piles have grown since Monday. They will make good projectiles for this week’s approaching hurricane.
Everything in this dumpster will become a projectile if and when Hurricane Isaac hits.

Fresh sawdust outside the side door of the E.W.F. Stirrup House indicating work inside is ongoing.

This fresh sawdust has not even gotten wet, despite the fact that it rains almost every day down here.
The fresh sawdust trails under and inside the side door of the E.W.F. Stirrup House.

This pile of construction materials has also grown since Monday. Plywood makes a great sail in a hurricane.

These piles of trash, hidden behind the E.W.F. Stirrup House, away
from the prying eyes of City of Miami inspectors, have not grown.

This pile of trash behind the E.W.F. Stirrup House has not grown either.

This pile of trash has grown since Monday.

I don’t want to be anywhere near this plywood when Hurricane Isaac arrives.
This Reggae flyer is still in front of the E.W.F. Stirrup House. Hurricane Isaac will take care of it.

This Red Stripe carton in front of the E.W.F. Stirrup House is a new arrival. It matches my shoes.


About Headly Westerfield

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