Tag Archives: venetian islands

Is Google’s former boss bulding a house on San Marino Island?

Curbed Miami, a website that specializes in real estate and architecture, has an interesting post on elaborate home plans submitted for a 12,700 square foot home on San Marino that reporter Sean McCaughan tracks back to ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

Curbed says the plans, submitted to Miami Beach’s Design Review Board for a hearing today, is a series of cubes designed by Leroy Street Studio.

Sunrise over South Beach, and an airborne view of Belle Isle

The islands of Biscayne Bay.

The islands of Biscayne Bay at first light, Jan. 18.

The Belle Isle Blog had an early flight into Miami International Airport  today, and it produced some good iPhone opportunities to take a look at our home.

A closer look at Belle Isle, Jan. 18.

A closer look at Belle Isle, Jan. 18.

A brilliant Miami sunrise.

A brilliant Miami sunrise.


At last, Miami Beach approves Venetian islands streetscape construction contract


After almost 10 years of planning, delays and funding challenges, Miami Beach voted Wednesday to hire a contractor for the $11.4 million Venetian Island Streetscape project.

The Venetian Island Homeowners Association has pushed for the improvements to Rivo Alto, DiLido and San Marino islands since at least 2003.

Drawings for the streetscape show great detail

Streetscape drawings show great detail

The project includes storm drainage, road construction, sidewalks (on DiLido and Rivo Alto, electrical wiring, lighting and landscaping. The contract — and nearly $11.4 million in work — was awarded to Lanzo Construction Co.

Back in October, VIHA president Jürgen Brendel told homeowners they would see a “spade in the ground” by early this year.

He may be right. Work should start soon. Because the work is focused on the internal island streets, the impact on Venetian Causeway traffic is expected to be minimal.

Update: Here is a note the VIHA president sent to island residents Thursday morning — project roughly 14 months of construction starting in June or July.

Hello Fellow Venetians

The Board of VIHA is pleased to announce that the Miami Beach Commission has today given the go-ahead for the VENETIAN ISLANDS INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM.

We were told this is a 14 months construction period (please don’t hold me to that) and it would start in June/July.

To field any questions, we will hold a membership meeting in late April/early May.

After so many years, we are glad this is finally a reality and it was a team effort of the Board consisting of Debbie, Paula, Emmanuel and myself.

With best regards,

Jürgen Brendel
President VIHA

Kardashian reality show house hunts on DiLido, North Bay Road

714 W DiLido, proposed home base for Kardashian reality show

If you haven’t been keeping up with the Kardashians — the reality show family featuring Kim and Khloe and Kourtney and sporty spouses and significant others– then you don’t live on DiLido Isle on the Venetian Causeway.

Or one of the Sunset Islands. Or North Bay Road.

DiLido residents were buzzing Thursday morning after learning that representatives of the Karadashian’s reality venture were going door-to-door near 714 W. DiLido Dr. seeking signatures in support of allowing the property to be used as the Kardashian’s home in an upcoming season of reality installments.

The property, according to Miami-Dade property records, is a six-bedroom, five-bath bayfront home on northeast portion of DiLido, owned by lawyer Dale Hightower.

The Kardashians are seeking a Miami Beach home they can use for three months of continuous filming. That is far beyond any use allowed in Miami Beach’s code, said Graham Winick, film and event production manager for the city of Miami Beach.

To get permission to use a single-family home in that way, Winick said, a production company must first get permission from all adjacent property owners (in this case there are two), and then 90 percent of the homeowners within a 500 foot radius of the house.

If that happens — a big if — then the city would convene a review board to evaluate the filming request. But that process wouldn’t even get to that stage without the okay of the neighbors.

“We are very industry friendly, but not at the expense of residential needs,” Winick said.

Many Miami Beach homes have been featured in television series and films. Magic City and Burn Notice, as well as telenovelas, frequently use Beach venues. Filming is supposed to begin in a few weeks at a home on Pine Tree Drive for the movie Iron Man 3.

But because the filming is usually for only a day or  two, or a period of days, Winick said.

The survey by the Kardashian crew alarmed DiLido residents, who alerted each other through a Venetian Isle e-mail group and urged residents to call Winick’s office.

DiLido resident Marc Cooper framed it this way in an email to his neighbors:

“They are seeking a permit to film the Kardashian reality TV show at 714 W. Dilido. They propose to have the Kardashian group live in that house and film continuously for three months, with a constant film crew and supporting people following the Kardashian’s coming and going, as well as their daily life.

“This seems outrageous for a residential neighborhood…. Although they promise that their impact will be minimal, my guess is that it will not be.”

In a previous season of Kourtney and Khloe take Miami, the Kardashians used the penthouse of the Bentley Bay Hotel on Ocean Drive as their home. Because it was in a commercial building, a hotel, no special permissions were required. But this year, because older sister Kourtney has had a baby, they are looking for a single-family home environment, Winick said.

The DiLido house isn’t the first place they sought, Winick said. And the DiLido neighbors haven’t been the only onse to call and complain.

First, they attempted to get the okay from neighbors for use of a home on one of the Sunset Islands. They failed.

Now they are looking at the DiLido house and another home on North Bay Road between 46th and 47th Street, Winick said. Neighbors of that home have been calling as well.

Venetian island residents howl at Miami Beach when cars get towed from their neighborhood

On Saturday, the tow trucks rolled to Rivo Alto and DiLido islands on the Venetian Causeway, at the orders of the city of Miami Beach.

They towed more than a dozen cars.

Some belonged to island homeowners. Some belonged to their friends. Some belonged to workers with jobs at one of the homes.

Here’s an account from Rivo Alto resident Tony Santos:

“A complaint was sent in by someone on Rivo Alto that there were cars parked on the pavement in front of homes.  Based on that complaint, MB Parking Enforcement came out and ticketed and towed cars parked on the city streets on Rivo Alto.

“I stopped them from towing my wife’s car this morning because I heard a terribly loud noise of a truck in front of my home for a little while; otherwise there was no warning of any kind at any time.  The MB Parking Enforcement officer confirmed that to me as well.  While she was very professional (and I have to admit that given the fact I rousted out of bed, I was not taking too kindly to the situation), she stood by her orders.  Upon promising to move the vehicle, I placed it in neighbor’s driveway.”

By the count of some residents, the city had at least seven cars towed from the front of homes on DiLido Island, in addition to cars ticketed and towed from Rivo Alto.

The action created a furor on the islands during the weekend, and demands that Miami Beach city hall back off.

The issue, according to Venetian Island Homeowner Association president Greg Carney, is the city classifies the tiny streets on the three city Venetian islands — Rivo Alto, DiLido and San Marino — to be highways. And ordinances say “that vehicles cannot be parked in the travel lanes of HIGHWAYS,” Carney said in a letter to homeowners.

“The idea is twofold as I understand the Parking Department’s or CIty Attorney Office’s interpretation,” Carney wrote. “First, you don’t want cars being parked to create a hazard.  The idea here is if cars are parked in travel lanes on major through streets like Alton Road or the Venetian Causeway, fast moving traffic will be forced into the path of oncoming fast moving traffic, which creates an obvious safety issue.
“Second, vehicles should not be parked in such a way as to force pedestrians out into fast moving traffic for obvious safety reasons.
“In addition, there is another requirement that there be enough of a travel lane maintained on any public street whether HIGHWAY or not that emergency vehicles (e.g., police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, etc) be able to get by without hinderance for obvious reasons.”
Of course, the roads on the Venetian Islands do not function as thoroughfares like Alton Road or the Venetian Causeway.
One resident, who has lived on the island for 18 years, posted this note on a message board:
I got a ticket 4 months ago for parking in front of my house but not in my driveway.  I had no room because maids, maintenance, pool guy, etc. were there.  This is a problem and should be addressed.  We should be able to park near our homes…. there is no where to go.  There needs to be a way to handle all of this!
Carney said the city ought to apply some logic to its enforcement.
“The only rational solution, as I  have discussed with the City on a number of occasions, is to have the City interpret that the ordinance does not apply to non-HIGHWAYS and to deem our streets not to be HIGHWAYS,” Carney said.
“I strongly urge them to get this resolved once and for all: it seems as if it should be easy – modify the official interpretation of the ordinance and tell Parking to leave the residents alone.  I think it highly unlikely that the county or the State will come after the city for how it enforces parking on local city streets even if the county or state thinks our streets are HIGHWAYS.  Cut the residents some slack.”
He called on island residents to contact the city manager and their commissioners “to express frustration over this issue.  It sure has frustrated me.”

Keeping parties in check on the Venetian Islands

The party house.

It’s a problem that goes back years on South Beach, especially on the Venetian Islands and Sunset Islands — the neighborhood house that regularly gets used for huge parties, maybe for hire, maybe not, but certainly a neighborhood headache.

And oh so hard to prove.

Creating attention these days is a house on the north end of Di Lido Island, which island residents complain is being used as a base for parties on a boat several nights a week, according to an email circulated by the Venetian Island Homeowners Association.

From VIHA president Greg Carney:

Recently, there have been complaints by the neighbors about activities going on at a house on the north side of West Di Lido Drive.  As best as can be determined, the occupant is renting the property.  He has a large boat which he takes out with large numbers of “guests” on most Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.  He advertises for “guests” via the Internet (e.g., via Facebook) and suggests they help out with “gas money” or other incidentals but does not explicitly solicit fees on the Internet.  When the “guests” arrive, they typically park up and down the street and make it difficult for the residents to find on street parking.

The neighbors have made a number of complaints to the City about this situation.  The City has not been able to prove that this Party House is being used for commercial purposes, but they do respond to complaints about parking.

Compounding the problem, Carney says, is the fact that lots of island homeowners have parties — and lots of people park along the narrow streets on Di Lido and other Venetian islands when private driveways overflow. When code enforcement gets called to ticket people for parking where they shouldn’t, EVERYBODY gets ticketed — including folks who have nothing to do with the party.

Carney, again:

Many of us will have a party at our home several times a year, so we need to be careful to not go overboard on the enforcement end.  And when you are having a party, be considerate of your neighbors (maybe invite them) and when they have a party, cut them some slack.  However, some situations seem beyond reason (three parties a week, every week seems excessive).  I have only cited the situation I know of on West Di Lido, but I suspect there may be similar ones elsewhere.

Party House problems go back years on the islands. Back There

Venetian Causeway streetscape plan includes extensive, island-to-island upgrades

An overview of work on DiLido Island.

After a series of snags and delays, a series of construction and beautification projects on the Venetian Causeway and causeway islands by Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami Beach are nearing the go-ahead stage.

The scope of the work is daunting and will touch every homeowner living on the causeway — and affect every driver crossing it.

Along the causeway itself, it includes repaving the road and replacing all curbs, gutters, sidewalks, adding decorative crosswalks at intersections, landscaping medians and swale areas, improving bike lanes and re-doing all the lighting.

Light pole detail from Miami Beach's island streetscape plans

On the individual islands, the rehab is equally extensive — from new sidewalks to lighting and landscaping and drainage. (On Belle Isle, work on Island Avenue was done two years ago as part of the renovation of Belle Isle Park).

Miami Beach is handling the work on San Marino, DiLido and Rivo Alto islands. Plans are 90 percent complete, and the engineering firm developing them for the city — Schwebke, Shiskin & Associates — has made them available on the web so homeowners can study how their individual lot will be affected — even where the trees and light posts would be located. The plans are hundreds of pages, and take a long time to download. Belle Isle Blog pulled the art with this blog post from the site.

The Miami-Dade County piece of this project involves the repaving main causeway throughfare and renovating the right-of-way along the way. opens bids on June 30, with a targeted cost of nearly $7.8 million. According to the county summary, it includes sidewalks, curbs, gutters, landscaped medians, wider bike lanes, drainage improvements, decorative crosswalks, lighting, tree planting and signage from Biscayne to Belle islands. Continue reading