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321 Ocean Enrique Norten South Beach Expose

321 Ocean Enrique Norten South Beach Expose

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Published by davidwalters
We do not need a New York/Mexican architectural firm to qualify Miami as a world-class city. We have our own Starchitects. 321 OCEAN ARQUITECTONICA has an exotic ring to it. And why not 321 OCEAN LUIS REVUELTA?
We do not need a New York/Mexican architectural firm to qualify Miami as a world-class city. We have our own Starchitects. 321 OCEAN ARQUITECTONICA has an exotic ring to it. And why not 321 OCEAN LUIS REVUELTA?

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Published by: davidwalters on Apr 29, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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08/09/2014

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MIAMI MIRROR
–    
 TRUE REFLECTIONS 
 
Page
1
 of
6
 
Series:
321 OCEAN 
 ENRIQUE NORTEN SOUTH BEACH
321 OCEAN
ENRIQUE NORTEN SOUTH BEACH
 
April 28, 2014 By David Arthur Walters MIAMI MIRROR MIAMI BEACH
The sign on the real estate development at 321 Ocean Drive in the South
Pointe district of Miami Beach’s
famed South Beach attracted my attention because it appeared to be an unpermitted temporary real estate sign; to wit, a sign without a permit decal affixed to it as required by city ordinance. My
“broken windows theory”
study of unpermitted signs in Miami Beach proceeded with the notion that the proliferation of unpermitted signs in Miami Beach is a sign of a lax enforcement culture that encourages far more significant violations of law and therefore attracts lawbreakers of all sorts. That is, I expected to find a high incidence of serious violations of law hidden behind every unpermitted sign, and I was consequently determined to leave no rock unturned to expose what crawls underneath each of them.
 
MIAMI MIRROR
–    
 TRUE REFLECTIONS 
 
Page
2
 of
6
 
A former Internal Affairs commander said my job would be easy.
If you follow someone around long enough, you will discover violations.
”Well, i
t follows that to reduce the number of violations all one has to do is stop following people around. It is no wonder that we have such rude drivers and a high rate of traffic accidents. I have been following several so-
called “phased permitting” projects around
 South Beach. The
city’s
newly adopted phased permitting program is a confession of governmental incompetence that allows developers to proceed with construction without a full permit providing they inspect their own projects and promise not to hold the city responsible for its abnegation of its duties to protect the safety and welfare of the public. City Manager Jimmy Morales called me
“obsessed” for being conce
rned with phased projects. I have pointed out that he and the building official allowed construction to proceed and continue at favored developer Russell
Galbut’s Gale Suites at Kaskades Hotel renovation without the prerequisite environmental
permits. 321 Ocean condominium project was spot-zoned to increase the height limitation and cram two buildings into a narrow space between two small condominium buildings after the developers threatened to sell the property to hotel developers; one of its sponsors happens to be City of Miami Beach Commissioner Ed Tobin, one of the so-called reformers who arranged a coup over which set of developers would develop the city. The project proceeded full blast, from ground to roof, with a single phase permit, contradicting the meaning of phased permitting, i.e.
 
MIAMI MIRROR
–    
 TRUE REFLECTIONS 
 
Page
3
 of
6
 
construction that is permitted phase by phase until the final project is approved. Phased permit B1306734 for 321 Ocean was revoked on April 10, 2014, with the infrastructure nearly completed, and master permit B1202521 for the $18 million job was approved on April Fools Day, also to be privately inspected by private inspection firm MTCI Private Inspection Services LLC. Returning to the superficial but significant aspects of lax and selective enforcement, Mariano Fernandez, the new building department director whom the new city manager brought over from Miami to help him reduce corruption in the wake of the most recent FBI arrests, shirked his responsibility for removing signs after I asked him to do so as per Section 138-11(c) of the local code providing
for removals: “The building official may initiate proceedings that result in the removal of any sign erected or maintained without a permit.”
 That is not his job, he informed me, and passed the buck to the new code compliance director, Hernan Cardeno, a sworn police officer and a public corruption FBI liaison who, as can be seen by continued violations, could care less about unpermitted signs unless someone risks retaliation by filing a formal complaint. I asked George Castell, a faithful code compliance administrator who has been around a long time, to see if the sign,
321 OCEAN 
 ENRIQUE NORTEN SOUTH BEACH,
had been permitted, thinking that perhaps someone forgot to apply the permit sticker to the sign after purchasing it for $25, questions unasked as to its nature, at city hall. I also asked him about permission for
Tom Murphy’s
Coastal Condominiums
, Coastal
Construction Group’s signs on
 the site. Advertisements of all sorts, including a picture of the co
ntractor’s mother if he likes, may
 appear on the shell of a fence about a site, and be permitted all at once, with some limitations as to size. But Murphy had two freestanding signs, on posts, and one sign hanging on the fence, that sign not bearing a cont
ractor’s license
number as required by state law. Temporary construction signs, in distinction from temporary

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