Coconut Grove Developer Fined After Cutting Down 100-Year-Old Trees Around Charles Ave.

Categories: Environmental

coconutgrovetree.jpg
Averette, via Wikimedia Commons
Coconut Grove is known for its trees: Giant oaks, hammocks of hardwoods, and leaves the size of an NBA player's palm. Wild foliage is part of what makes that quaint neighborhood charming. Also notable are the shotgun-style houses that line Charles Avenue, such as the Stirrup House, which is the second-oldest residential structure in Miami's oldest neighborhood.

But local activists complain that the development group behind the "Grove Trilogy" of restaurants on Main Highway, is slowly paving its way into the cutest, greenest parts of the 'hood. Most recently, they were slapped with a city fine for demolishing 100-year-old trees, possibly to make way for a parking lot.

Last week, the Aries Development Group knocked down four large, century-old oaks outside of the Stirrup House property, and the city fined them a $1,000 each for tree removal without a finalized permit. Patrons at the Grove Trilogy of restaurants have to contend with street parking, so many speculate that the extra space will be used for a parking lot.

Gino Falsetto, who runs the Aries Group, did not return multiple requests for comment about why the trees were knocked down. No matter the reason, residents are incensed that they got nothing more than a slap on the wrist from the city.

"If you're gonna put in a million dollars into a structure, tacking on a $4,000 fine is nothing," says Tom Falco, who runs the Coconut Grove Grapevine blog and has lived in the Grove for about 40 years.

Aries Group has a 50-year-lease on the Stirrup House. The house was built more than 100 years ago by a Bahamian man named Ebeneezer Stirrup. Before he died, he put it in his will that the property never be sold to anyone outside of his family. Hence the lease, which gives Aries Group control over what happens around the property.

Grove residents already have a contentious relationship with Aries. They also own parking around the Coconut Grove Playhouse, the beloved institution that was closed down in 2006, and also control the northeast corner of the Playhouse property. Some blame them for the runaway development that's eaten away at the Groves' character.

"I remember when the real hippies where on the sidewalk and selling tie dye," Falco says. "It was an old little village, and now developers are coming in, and they're trying to turn it into Brickell. Its days are numbered."

[h/t CoconutGroveGrapevine]

Send your story tips to the author, Allie Conti.

Follow Allie Conti on Twitter: @allie_conti

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My Voice Nation Help
19 comments
trio777
trio777

Many trees on Grove Isle to go if Avila gets his way.

Angel Alvarado
Angel Alvarado

SICKENING!!! IS NOTHING SACRED ANYMORE???? (stupid question!)

Jean Francois Bekono
Jean Francois Bekono

The wood from those trees is easily worth more than the fine. I'm setting up a lumberjack operation in the Grove!

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..........................well maybe try to be less hypocritical and NOT patronize ANY retail development that comes into where those trees were taken down - how is that for a simple answer ?

seems the developer is only PROFITing off of what grove people want - no ?

take the PROFIT out of Aries operations and you won't see another SHRUB removed ! = period

want to SHOP ? want to DRIVE ? want to eat out ? want to PARK ? then expect ALL your greenery to be BULLdozed and PAVED over - it's that simple

Brad Beaty
Brad Beaty

At least tell me he's going to use the wood somewhere other than a fireplace.

Tony Prieto
Tony Prieto

Coconut Grove should be ashamed. They have zero respect for history or nature in Miami. They want to change the name to "The Nearby Republic of Coconut Grove", they demolished the exhibition center which was a great sound stage (and moneymaker for poor city of Miami), they're going to destroy Scotty's Landing and Chart House for another Shula's. These trees are one of the reasons people live in Coconut Grove.

marcpink13
marcpink13

A $1,000 fine for cutting down a 100 year old tree is ridiculous. That needs to be upped big time.


HarryTheHandyman
HarryTheHandyman topcommenter

"The house was built 150 years ago by a Bahamian man named Stirrup."

No.  It was built in 1897.  So its 117 years old.  Also, the name of the builder and original owner is Ebenezer Woodbury Franklin Stirrup or E.W.F. Stirrup for short - not just Stirrup.  Holy laziness.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

...............have they BULLdozed away MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS's home yet ?

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.........................good catch

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