Developer Moves to Rezone 4 Grove Isle

Priceless views from Grove Isle

4 Grove Isle Hotel & Club Views – priceless and still neglected

The 4 Grove Isle Developer has now submitted an alternative plan for the island to the City of Miami.  The new application mentions a 12 story tower on a development area which excludes the tennis club.  As such, this is a more sophisticated attempt to split the island and test the resolve of the community against further high density development.

Rezoning is required as the project will still not be in keeping with the Miami21 planning regime — a structure which should provide a foundation for real estate decisions.   Furthermore, it is not yet clear what effect this will have on club amenities or how the developer intends to overcome the serious logistic and environmental constraints of the island.

Needless to say local residents, both on and off the island, and the real estate market have been ‘spooked’ by this project.  Perhaps it is also partly responsible for the recent high profile departure from our neighbourhood…

For further detail on this update please click on the Board memo image below.  Please also share your insights on this topic in the comment section below.

Grove Isle Board Memo July 24 2014

Grove Isle Board Memo July 24 2014 (click to open)

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28 thoughts on “Developer Moves to Rezone 4 Grove Isle

  1. Anonymous says:

    I was just reviewing this post and took a second look at the picture with the “priceless view”. Biscayne Bay is indeed a priceless view, however, please look at the umbrella and lounge cushion.

    What the hell is Avila doing with our money?
    What happened with all his promises?

    Its a shame this hotel carries our name. Maybe it should be Agave Holding Motel. This speaks volumes for the way these people play “nice” neighbor”.

    Please look at it CAREFULLY!!!
    Wake up residents, WAKE UP!!!


  2. Alberto P. MBA says:

    I haven’t found a mention of how to file for rezoning under Miami 21. The term doesn’t seem to exist within available literature. I may be wrong. However, assuming they petition a variance, i have included this information. Do we have someone that may interpret it from a legal/zoning point of view??

    A Variance is a relaxation of the terms of Miami 21, and may be allowed only under exceptional circumstances when such action will not be contrary to the public interest, and where they are caused by conditions peculiar to the property and not the result of actions of the applicant, and where a literal enforcement of Miami 21 would result in unnecessary and undue hardship for the reasonable use of the property.

    A Variance may be authorized only for lot size, lot coverage, dimensions of side or rear setbacks, parking and loading requirements, or open space requirements.

    Except as otherwise provided by Miami 21; the Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board (PZAB) shall determine when a Variance may be granted.

    Does it have to go to public hearing or hearings are only to challenge a possible variance granted by PZAB?


    • Bob says:


      Under Section of Miami 21 there are provisions for zone changes. As I understand it, Avila has applied for a zone change (up zoning from T-5 to T 6-8) and not for a variance. Assuming my understanding is correct, all your questions and comments about variances and the PZAB will not come into play in this situation.

      If you Google Miami 21, then click on Volume 1 and go to section pages VII-29 – VII34 you ill find the provisions and processes for a zone change. Also there is a chart (Diagram 14 on page VII-5) showing how any owner/developer applicant applies for variances, special exceptions, re-zoning, etc. and the sequential process for each of these actions.

      Please note that unlike an application for a site plan which is processed, reviewed and acted on, for the most part, by the City Planning Department, a rezoning determination is ultimately acted upon by the City Commissioners after the requisite public hearings and recommendations from the Planning Department and the ZBA.. What that means is that a rezoning is more of a “political process” than other development or building applications (all of which have a certain political component).

      What the GI board should have already done, once it learned about this new re-zoning application, is get our zoning attorneys, Weiss Serota, involved so that this re-zoning application does not get traction at city hall. However, 3 weeks after the application for rezoning was filed, my understanding is that no meeting with Weiss Serota has occurred.


      • Bob Denholtz says:

        has the association board brought this to the attorney’s as of this date??


        • susan says:

          If you read the very detailed answer from Bob above your comment, it says the Board has not. Why are we not surprised!? Maybe it is time for residents to send Edgar Lewis some emails asking why the delay in contacting Weiss Serota on this incredibly important issue.


          • Theodore 55 says:

            Can we call a meeting and replace Edgar immediately. Everyone feels he is extremely incompetent and not trustworthy. This is something we can tackle head on and quick. We can debate and opine about the development threat all we want but in the meantime this gentleman will continue to do nothing or even worse , do something and hurt us more. I don’t think it is wise to wait another week or months for an election. How can we get this process rolling tonight?


          • Harry N. says:

            How can Mr. Lewis exert so much influence for so long over so many board members? I know some of them to be highly intelligent and trustworthy. They NEED to bring him DOWN from within. Vote of no confidence , I’ll be happy to sign a petition.


          • Harry N. says:

            I call for the board to take a vote during the very next meeting. How much more and how much longer are we going to tolerate this guy. I want the vote to be made public immediately. I will vote against any candidate that either backs him up or abstains. Enough. This guy is driving our bus right off the cliff. Since December we have been mentioning him falling asleep at the wheel. I no longer believe it is incompetence. I would not be surprised this guy has his own agenda. Just look at the mess we’ve turned into with this guy at the wheel! ENOUGH.EDGAR HAS TO GO. Have seen dignity and quit, emulate the oriental traditions of resigning when acting incompetently.


      • Jimbo on GI says:

        “What that means is that a rezoning is more of a “political process” than other development or building applications (all of which have a certain political component).”

        Bob, Thank you for making this clear.


  3. Alberto P. MBA says:

    Very interesting comment in cg grapevine:

    “Miami 21 was created to create consistency and stop the practice of developers seeking variances every time they wanted to build bigger/higher/denser. The idea was developers should build within the zoning, period. The City needs to draw the line on things like this and allow them to build what they are entitled to under Miami 21. Period.”


  4. 75 yr says:

    We are lucky to have Bob, he is the smartest man on the planet


  5. Bob Denholtz says:

    ….I am surprised that more resdients have not posted comments. In speaking with so many it appears there is an overwhelming majority that does not want the proposed development to move forward. Suggested in a meeting earlier this year should a hotel/spa operator with a brand have interest in operating a “boutique” property (such as a Canyon Ranch or a Ritz Carlton) it would change the image and value on the island.

    The resdients would benefit as we would control our destiny, pay down debt, improve property values, limit the new faciltiy to a similar footprint, square fooatge and building height not to mention a club and restaurant we would all be proud to utilize hosting family and friends. The current property/facilty is embarassing from the pool to the lack of training of the staff to the rooms. Have you or family stayed in the hotel over the last few years? if you have not take the time to check it out!!

    The best move for all residents is to buy or negotiate the contract to our benefit, beautify the island and bring Grove Isle up to the standards we all expected to be when we moved there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anonymous says:

      Like Mr. Avila already said..everything is for sale at the right price. Well, we have to make sure it’s the right price for US.
      You have proposed what most residents would eventually prefer and what should have been done a long time ago. Unless Mr. Avila is in the hotel business, he will have to sell his property either to the current residents or a hotel chain that will run it as you have clearly described. That is his only way out. If he cannot build (he won’t) he will have to quickly unload the property.


    • Robert 2GI says:

      We need to form a group charged with finding a partner to make this boutique hotel project work. Its time to move on this.


      • Bob Denholtz says:

        i agree but first can we make a deal with Alvila?? Not sure where he stands other than possibly throwing good money after bad with legal fees, architect fees, bank interest on $20,000,000 @ 9% and climbing each year and more…………….it is time to form a committee/board to deal with this issue, count me in!


  6. Janet McAliley says:

    Who is Bob? Is he a resident of GI? Janet McAliley


  7. Bob says:

    First, all of the comments since July 18 are off point, not relevant and, with respect to comments about David Sporn, in bad taste. If in fact Avila is able to redevelop Grove Isle 4 and Sporn sells units in that development, who cares and how is that relevant? Also, with due respect ( sort of) who gives a rip about any comment from someone in the real estate sales community? They are in sales and they have “comments du jour”.

    Second, and more to the point, the 1977 Stipulated Settlement Agreement is a restrictive covenant controlling the development of the entire island in perpetuity; and based on my personal experience any Stipulated Settlement trumps any current or future zoning. Assuming this is correct, ( to be confirmed by the GI attorneys Weiss Serota) I ‘m not sure why Avila is going in this direction. The only logical explanations are he is desperate and this is the only option available to him and, if successful on a re zoning, he is going to argue that either the 1977 SSA is no longer valid or that GI doesn’t ‘have standing. Our attorneys will probably argue to the Planning Commission that since the SSA is the controlling agreement, the Planning Commission should not. En entertain the Avila re zoning application.

    You should all feel some comfort level that Weiss Serota are stars (and with strong connections to the City) and they “get it”. The odds are they will be all over this new re zoning application and will give good, clear, strong recommendations to the GI Board. Then hopefully the GI board will act in a timely manner.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fernando says:

      Bob, I agree with you regarding the contractual side of your argument. However, I respectfuly disagree with your view on real estate brokers. The article written by Jill Penman does show the harm a broker can do to potential sales of current units. For starters it points out our state of disrepair and she follows it by qualifying a purchase in GI as a bad investment. Even if Mr. Avila’s project goes through, another broker like David would NOT make such a HARMFUL statement. Ms. Penman’s comments may put off any potential sales as of now. GI 4 may never happen, therefore prudence is necessary. I for one appreciate comments from brokers, whether or not they believe prices may go up or down. What I would never expect is for one of them to start torpedoing my home’s value and Grove Isle’s status. We should welcome brokers to speak more at our meetings. I understand some may be hesitant to write in this blog, but their opinions are needed and must be welcome.

      Regarding the settlement agreement, it will take a great amount of political and legal “contorsionism” for the outcome to be ruled in favor of the developer. The law is clearly stated but unfortunately it is up to Miami’s city officials and politicians to interpret and implement it. Thanks to informed people like yourself we can rest more comfortably knowing someone representing the owner’s interest are deeply involved in the comings and goings of this issue. I appreciate your thorough explanations.


      • Anonymous says:

        There is two worlds out there. The legal world which moves at a slower pace and most people cannot understand or influence. The second is the market world which moves much faster and is easier for folks to understand and influence. Since most of us residents currently live in the later, we are more concerned with the real estate market effects of the porential develop threat and how it may affect our lifestyles and property values. However, the legal side also needs to be closely watched and understood.


      • susan says:

        I don’t think anyone really needs a broker to tell them that the values at Grove Isle are dead in the water and not because of the state of disrepair of the buildings. The ambiance of the island covers a lot of sins. The values will remain depressed until the situation of Grove Isle 4 is resolved. If it is resolved in our favor, the prices should go up again. No offense to the brokerage community out there, but this is pretty simple logic. In the mean time, the focus should now be on the Board’s reinstituting the suit against the Club. They hesitated while the mediation was going on reasoning that you don’t sue someone you are mediating with. Since that process is effectvely dead and buried, there is no excuse for the Board not to refile the suit. Recovery of that money would take care of a lot of maintenance.


    • Robert W says:

      This is all nothing new…

      “Fighting over development has been the Grove’s most difficult and enduring cause. Rolf Monroe fired the first shot when he went to court to stop fair Isle, now Grove Isle. 50 years later, his family followed his example and refused to sell the barnacle to a developer even though they could have reaped great financial gain.) The saga continued in the 1970s when the Coconut Grove Civic Club forced to compromise that stopped 40s story buildings on the same island. Recently, neighbours and those of who wanted to protect Vizcaya’s view shared went to court and once again kept another developer from building …story buildings on nearby Mercy Hospital property.”

      “Although a recent effort to once again secede from the city of Miami failed, continued frustration and antipathy towards the city of Miami spurred voters to create the Coconut Grove Village Council. Even though it has no jurisdiction, it often gets its way.”

      Text from Arva Moore Parks, Bo Bennett, Coconut Grove, Arcadia Publishing, 09/20/2010 p.119

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Janet McAliley says:

    Thanks for keeping us all informed. I really appreciate your hard work. Janet McAliley


    • Janet …. it is very comforting to feel the overwhelming support of Grove Isle residents such as yourself …. in opposing and resisting this proposed high density development plan.


    • Harry N. says:

      Janet, the board is open to anyone. Names and addresses are not necessary. Its not for you to start putting rules in place. Anyone can interpret comments and make judgments without necessarily knowing who they came from. BTW, are you a resident? Are you qualified to assign credibility based on a name?


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