Not Turning the Tables

This past February we took a stroll down Lincoln Road and noted numerous violations of sidewalk café permit rules governed by the Public Works Department of Miami Beach. We allowed some time to pass and then decided to contact code enforcement, which writes tickets for these offenses. After leaving many unanswered phone messages, we realized that George Costell, supervisor for code enforcement on the south end of the Beach, wasn't overly eager to speak with us. However, Nannette Rodriguez, from the city's Office of Communications, was kind enough to forward us a report referencing sidewalk café violations from February 26 through April 28, 2005. (See the list at the end of this story.)

We also performed a foot patrol to see what, if anything, had changed. Our conclusion: not much. Carnavale, the most blatant violator, has removed file cabinets, a water cooler, stereo equipment, and some other stuff from a Morris Lapidus structure, but still presents quite an eyesore. World Resources Café and Tiramesu remain committed to blocking access to a beautiful fountain. Soprano maintains its bus-station blockade of another fountain, while Da Leo is still Da One when it comes to the most solid obstruction of north-south public passage. Somehow both Da Leo and Soprano escaped getting fined. One other eye opener on the list: Salad Creations set up an outdoor sidewalk café without a license to do so. Fine: $100. It costs more than that to get your car back from the tow-truck thugs when you park in the wrong spot for 30 seconds.

As it stands, if a restaurant decides it's worth $500 every few months in order to wedge more seating outdoors, the restaurateur will pull the chairs in to show compliance, then put them out again and consider the next fine as a cost of doing business.

On a brighter note, there is less stacking of tables and chairs, and we salute Sushi Siam for rearranging its dining tables to allow those who want to read the plaque about Morris Lapidus, the man who designed the now-obstructed sculptures, to do so. "I designed Lincoln Road for people," the plaque quotes Lapidus. "A car never bought anything." He might have added, "And neither did a table and chairs."

All of these cases of sidewalk café violations are on open status -- fines have not been paid. Several cases still have an appeal time pending, and some are being appealed by the violators.

The List

February 23, 2005 -- Touch, 910 Lincoln Rd., failing to maintain a ten-foot pathway.

February 26, 2005 -- Touch, 910 Lincoln Rd., failing to maintain a ten-foot pathway.

February 26, 2005 -- Altamar, 1223 Lincoln Rd., failing to maintain a five-foot pathway.

March 1, 2005-- Carnavale, 607 Lincoln Rd., stacking chairs on public property (appealed).

March 1, 2005 -- Six 2 Six, 626 Lincoln Rd., storage of sidewalk café equipment on the public right-of-way.

March 1, 2005 -- Pizza Rustica, 667 Lincoln Rd., storage of sidewalk café equipment on the public right-of-way.

March 1, 2005 -- World Resources Café, 719 Lincoln Rd., storage of sidewalk café equipment on the public right-of-way.

March 3, 2005 -- Carnavale, 607 Lincoln Rd. , stacking chairs on public property.

March 4, 2005 -- Nexxt Café, 700 Lincoln Rd., failing to maintain a ten-foot pathway.

March 5, 2005 -- Altamar, 1223 Lincoln Rd., failing to maintain a five-foot pathway.

March 12, 2005 -- Touch, 910 Lincoln Rd., failing to maintain a ten-foot pathway.

April 1, 2005 -- Tiramesu, 721 Lincoln Rd., failing to maintain a ten-foot pathway.

April 1, 2005 -- Finnegan's 2, 942 Lincoln Rd., failing to maintain a ten-foot pathway.

April 2, 2005 -- Tropical Cigar, 741 Lincoln Rd., failing to maintain a ten-foot pathway.

April 4, 2005 -- Nexxt Café, 700 Lincoln Rd., stacking chairs on public property.

April 4, 2005 -- Tiramesu, 721 Lincoln Rd. , stacking chairs on public property.

April 9, 2005 -- Finnegan's 2, 942 Lincoln Rd., failing to maintain a ten-foot pathway.

April 15, 2005 -- Touch, 910 Lincoln Rd., failing to maintain a ten-foot pathway.

April 22, 2005 -- Salad Creations, 1120 Lincoln Rd., operating without a sidewalk café permit.

 
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