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North Miami Beach neighbors worry about loud parties at fancy new house


Special to the Miami Herald

Residents of the gated Eastern Shores community in North Miami Beach are objecting to a proposed new multi-million-dollar modern home with a rooftop terrace in the neighborhood.

Abraham Galsky, co-owner of a vacant lot in the 3100 block of Northeast 165th St., wants to build a minimalist–style, two-story, 6255-square-foot home in a cul-de-sac with views overlooking Maule Lake.

“This is our first spec house in this city. My partners and I think we can put it on the market for $4.2 million,” said Galsky.

The plans call for two variances from the city — to allow a flat roof and a 6.5-foot height extension for an elevator to the roof. At the last council meeting, the elevator became a flash point for some residents and council members who live in Eastern Shores.

The problem: The roof with the proposed tile floor, elevator and landscaping would be too irresistible to not have wild, noisy parties said some residents.

“We have no objection to the flat roof, but to allow an open-air recreational space with or without a planned spa or the proposed 5-foot wall surrounding the rooftop has the potential of subjecting the neighborhood to a noise issue and the invasion of privacy of others,” said Chuck Asarnow, President of the Eastern Shores Property Owners Association.

North Miami Beach city planner Carlos Rivera assured the council members that 5-foot-high walls with built-in planters would shield the sides of the terrace, blocking noise and line of sight to neighbors.

“We demanded the owner add 4-foot-wide planters on the perimeter so nobody can lean over the wall and look down on neighbors, and we had the developer amp up the landscaping up there. We worked on this project really hard so it could be a win-win for the city and the neighborhood,” said Rivera.

“It’s not a noise issue. It’s plain physics and geometry,” Galsky told the Miami Herald. “We have changed the plans, which was approved by the city’s planning department to add walls on the sides of the roof. You’ll get more noise from someone’s backyard than you would from a rooftop with these setbacks.”

Councilwoman Barbara Kramer said she was uneasy about the size of the roof and the people who would buy the home.

“We don’t know who those people are going to be. Hopefully they’re not people who buy the house to rent it out. We haven’t straightened that out yet,” she said.

Councilwoman Phyllis Smith admitted that when she went door to door in the neighborhood, her constituents were divided on the issue.

“The issue of the elevator that takes you to a rooftop that is tiled, has electricity and water. I don’t know if we can accommodate such fabulous living,” said Smith. “The problem, will the enjoyment of that house be a detriment to the enjoyment of the houses around it.”

Councilman Anthony DeFillipo who is a property manager and developer with properties in the city said the flat roof is a modern attractive trend and said the noise issue is irrelevant.

“You can put restrictions on noise and size. I would hope this council would embrace this project because it will increase property values. The problem is, I think, sometimes its very hard for people to embrace new trends,” he said.

Daniel Sorogon, architect of the home said there is a simple remedy and he can adjust the size of the roof, remove the elevator and spa if necessary.

“If there is a problem with noise, the neighbors can pick up the phone and call the police. Really the big problem is not noise but parking,” said Sorogon.

Earlier Mayor George Vallejo rebuffed Smith’s motion to call a town meeting to discuss the variances, saying the it would unnecessarily punish the applicants who had already gone through various boards and adjustments by the city’s planning department.

“It’s think it’s a dereliction of the council’s responsibility to table things constantly, especially to say we want to kick it to a workshop,” said Vallejo.

But two and half-hours later, the council voted 5-2 to table the resolution until the March 4 council meeting.

Galsky said he grew up in Golden Beach and wanted to invest nearby in North Miami Beach, but said he and his partners are now looking elsewhere.

“I’ve been surprised by the combativeness of individual members of the Planning and Zoning Board and the delays. But I’m sure we’ll get this done. I’m prepared to make modifications that will make everyone happy.”

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