The Great Wall of Morningside

How many lawyers does it take to build a fence along the Bay?

In April 1994 they presented their plan to the HEP board, and touched off a brouhaha. The ten-member committee approved the fence -- but not before HEP board member Norah Schaefer, a Morningside resident and a local realtor, publicly lambasted Miami preservation officer Sarah Eaton, an adviser to the board, for siding with Polakoff and Carver. For her outburst, Schaefer was forced to resign from the board. And at a July meeting, rather than ratifying the board's recommendation, city commissioners ruled that no obstruction could be built along the section of property that fronts the cul-de-sac.

Polakoff and Carver took their case to Dade Circuit Court. In September 1995 the court upheld the commission's decision, on the grounds that historical guidelines prohibiting such obstructions were in place when Polakoff and Carver purchased the land and the city was under no obligation to grant a variance. Undeterred, the pair proceeded to the Third District Court of Appeals, which this past spring sent the matter back to the commission, ruling that the evidentiary record was incomplete. A year after their initial vote, commissioners agreed to a compromise on a fence -- a hedge-and-wrought-iron combination that would front the house and extend east all the way to the bay.

That's a temporary remedy, according to Polakoff and Carver, who now intend to go back to the HEP board, possibly this fall, to extend their wrought-iron fence along the end of the cul-de-sac -- the same structure HEP originally okayed. If all goes well, the proposal would again be presented to commissioners.

Jesse Diner and some of his neighbors say they'll fight the fence every step of the way. Polakoff, meanwhile, has applied for the real estate broker's seat on the HEP Board -- the one once held by Norah Schaefer.

« Previous Page
My Voice Nation Help
Miami Concert Tickets