Miami Beach

Fate of ‘Real Housewives of Miami’ couple’s Star Island mansion will come down to timing

 

The Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board decided on Tuesday to move forward with the process to designate the estate at 42 Star Island as historic.

cveiga@MiamiHerald.com

Miami Beach’s Historic Preservation Board agreed Tuesday to pursue historic status for an 88-year-old Star Island mansion owned by a celebrity plastic surgeon and a reality TV star.

Ordinarily, the board’s move would freeze the owners’ plans to demolish it, but not this time. The reason: City staffers did not complete the normal preliminary paperwork for the project before the meeting..

As a result, the owners are in a race with the Miami Design Preservation League, which wants to save the house and filed the application for historic designation. If the city’s Design Review Board approves the demolition plan first, the owners win and can tear it down.

The design board next meets March 5, while the historic board won’t take up the application for the home at 42 Star Island again until probably April.

At stake is the fate of a mansion designed by Walter DeGarmo and currently owned by Leonard and Lisa Hochstein. He is a plastic surgeon known as “The Boob God.” She is a cast member of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Miami.

Normally, the city issues an “evaluation and recommendation” report “upon receipt of a completed application,” according to city rules. Historic Preservation Board members then decide whether to move forward with a more detailed “designation” report. If that happens, any petition to demolish the structure in question would be put on hold until the city decides whether the structure is indeed historic.

In this case, however, William Cary, Miami Beach’s preservation director, waited until the regular preservation board meeting on Tuesday to ask board members whether they really wanted to move forward with the preliminary report.

While he acknowledged that the home probably meets the criteria for historic designation, Cary called it “ethically unfair” that the application for historic designation was not submitted until after the Hochsteins bought the home and asked to tear it down. The couple has already spent time and money drawing up plans and going through the application process, he said. “I think it’s a bad precedent to set,” Cary said.

The board unanimously decided to move forward with the historic designation process anyway. But if the owners get the demolition application approved first, it will void the historic designation process, said Miami Beach Assistant City Attorney Gary Held.

Even if city staffers had prepared the paperwork, however, the board may have been unable to take binding action because, according to the city, The Miami Herald failed to publish an advertisement purchased by the city to notify the public of the meeting. As a general rule, actions taken at a meeting that was not properly advertised are void.

Follow @Cveiga on Twitter.

Read more Top Stories stories from the Miami Herald

  • Florida Keys

    Scientists probe secrets of Dry Tortugas

    Scientists embark on NOAA research cruise to Dry Tortugas in Florida Keys

  •  
FILE--Nubia Barahona, 10, was found dead in the back of her adoptive father's pick-up truck in West Palm Beach on Valentines Day 2011

    Child Welfare

    Nubia Barahona’s adoptive sister sues DCF

    The adoptive sister of Nubia Barahona, the child whose gruesome death while under the care of her adoptive father and mother shook Florida a few years ago, filed a lawsuit on Monday against the Florida Department of Children & Families, a child welfare worker, and two former DCF investigators.

  •  
Miami-Dade Commissioner Audrey Edmonson is sponsoring an effort to expand the county’s anti-discrimination law to include transgender protections.

    Miami-Dade County

    Transgender protections come before Miami-Dade commission — again

    Two Miami-Dade commissioners will attempt for the second time to add transgender protections Tuesday to a county law that bans discrimination in government employment and the delivery of public services.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category