Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade commissioners overturn historic board again

The Bay Harbor Continental at 1135 103rd St. in Bay Harbor Islands.
The Bay Harbor Continental at 1135 103rd St. in Bay Harbor Islands. ANGELO SEMERARO / FOR THE MIAMI

Miami-Dade commissioners again overturned their historic-preservation board late Tuesday night by granting an appeal of the panel's designation of a 1958 apartment building seen by some as a monument to the Miami Modern architectural style.

The 8-2 vote marks another defeat for preservationists on the heels of a commission vote in May to overturn an historic designation for a 1948 Surfside apartment building.

The decisions are believed to be the only time commissioners have vetoed the historic board's rulings, leaving preservationists to question the panel’s ability to protect architecturally significant buildings in Miami-Dade. Developers and property owners, joined by County Commissioner Sally Heyman, have complained of an over-reach by the preservation board to try to preserve modest architectural examples at the expense of owners who want the ability to sell for higher amounts.

At issue Tuesday was the 35-unit Bay Harbor Continental, a waterfront co-op slated for demolition by a developer that wants to buy it for about $17 million. Some residents want the sale, while others requested a historic designation to preserve the building. The county historic board voted 5-0 for the designation, making it the first Bay Harbor Islands structure to be declared historic.

Voting against granting the appeal were commissioners Barbara Jordan and Daniella Levine Cava. Voting for it were Heyman, Bruno Barreiro, Jose “Pepe” Diaz, Audrey Edmonson, Jean Monestime, Dennis Moss, Xavier Suarez and Juan C. Zapata. The vote came at 11:49 p.m., near the end of an unusually long meeting for the commission.