Miami Beach’s Historic Preservation Board on Tuesday voted to move ahead with the possible historic designation of a celebrity couple’s home — further complicating an already messy legal issue.
The vote means that city staff will produce a report to determine the historic value of the home at 42 Star Island. Usually, that would prohibit the homeowner from tearing down or altering the structure in question while the city does its analysis. But that’s not the case here.
That’s because Leonard and Lisa Hochstein — he, a plastic surgeon known as “The Boob God,” and she, a cast member of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Miami — have already gotten city approval to tear down the home. That gives them certain rights that lawyers for both the city and the Hochsteins have argued can’t be taken away.
There’s a catch: The Miami Design Preservation League, which also filed the application for historic designation of the home, has challenged the demolition approval. The appeal is still pending.
If the demolition order is ultimately upheld, then the Hochsteins can move forward with their plans.
However, if the preservation league succeeds in its appeal, then Tuesday’s Historic Preservation Board decision protects the home from demolition until a final determination relating to historic designation is reached.
Yet another outcome is possible: The Historic Preservation Board’s decision could get flipped by the City Commission.
On top of all that, the preservation league’s application for historic designation is also being appealed. At issue: whether the league has the right to file the application, and the completeness of the application.
The city, meanwhile, is dealing with a lawsuit filed by Leonard Hochstein against the city. In his suit, Hochstein claims that the Beach’s rules illegally give the preservation league the authority to ask the city to designate his home as historic. He also claims in his suit that the historic designation application is delaying his ability to get permits to build a new home, and that his constitutional rights are being violated.