By: Omar Jimenez
Was this Island Doomed by Design? …Let’s take a closer look.
Since moving onto this island, I’ve often pondered upon what was going on inside the Architect / Planners minds that drew up the plans for Park View Island. Such a chaotic mishmash of the same type of townhomes, mostly all the same square footage, in blocks of 4 clustered townhomes, different sections are styled differently with some sections having a row of 4 townhomes together in a row, whilst others have a block of 2 townhomes facing another 2 townhomes. Lots differ in size, with the townhomes on the canal typically having the largest lots.
The Fact that these townhomes were deeded “Fee Simple” explains a lot. See it’s all well and good when a property is deeded fee simple and the property owner maintains his own space. However, when you share a wall with at least another property owner and share lots of common space with generally 3 other property owners within your individual block of townhomes, When applied to the townhomes, Fee Simple Ownership just doesn’t seem to work so well, as the years have proven by looking at Gary Avenue and Raymond St. today. Home Owner Associations are designed with the purpose to enforce rules in a community, to maintain its standards and prevent its degradation, on the contrary, they are supposed to make the place better overall.
For example, on Park View Island, who
maintains all the common areas within each
individual block of Townhomes? Even if let’s
say all 4 neighbors in one block get together
and agree to improve their little area, who
then maintains it and keeps it all looking
harmoniously beautiful after that?…no one.
And in the case property owners do agree to
take on common projects, just one of those
property owners turning around and saying
they have either no funds to pay for their
part or just simply does not want to
participate, then the whole project is a bust.
That’s why there should have been an association established from the beginning, fee simple ownership simply does not work well in these tight-knit circumstances. An association would have had the power to manage all these Townhomes individually as part of one group, maintain all the common areas, many which have not been touched in years, overgrown bushes and trees, old crumbled walls and fences that have long past their expiry dates. They could have done with a plan of action let’s say 20–30 years ago and been managing different projects, updating and maintaining the entire row of Townhomes throughout this time. Now we’re faced with a tired and grungy looking street that has grown past its capacity. Imagine what Gary Avenue and Raymond St. would look like today? I mention these two first because these are the two most damaged by the flawed design of this island.
"Was this Island Doomed by design?"
Narrow one-lane streets, with no sidewalks, parking spaces all different sizes as different neighbors have painted and adjusted sizes according to their needs over the years, all squeezed together, when on the other side of the island the Park View Point Condominium has an entire parking lot mostly empty with the addition of an overflow lot which was transferred to the Condominium by the City of Miami Beach many years ago. We could have used that much needed space today, apparently an island club house originally was located there. How nice would it
have been to have a community hub on our island such as a club house or swimming pool..
Why must residents be subjected to living in
perpetuity under the mistakes of the past?
Moving forward the city should stop avoiding
the elephant in the room. By today’s standards
and code, parts of this island are sub-par. The
City allowed them to be built fee simple back in the 50's and now must accept the responsibility that if this island is to prosper in the future, a plan to bring all these Townhomes into a new era must be established soon, as right now is already later, this plan should have already been regenerating the island long ago.
The City has already established a Park View Island Association in the past, the association does not seem to be much active or have drummed up too many residents interest to date. Together residents And the City could create drawings to come up with a plan to remodel the exterior common spaces of these townhomes, addressing the common areas, sidewalks, resident parking on Gary Ave and Raymond St. and resurfacing the street together with all the low scale condominium parking lots so it can all be one flush level with the street. Lastly Landscaping of new mature trees along the improved streets and other common areas to give the neighborhood the feel of its real age, not the tired old look it currently has. A City program could be initiated for Townhome owners to apply for the improvement of their block of Townhomes under this island regeneration initiative. This could ensure the city works fast in clusters of 4 Townhomes at a time to complete updates in the common areas and street area on the entire row. Leaving the exterior common spaces updated and looking more uniform, aesthetically pleasing and functional for residents, taking away current eyesores such as clotheslines and other eroded structures
in those common patios that are original designs which seemed like a great design idea back in the 50's but today has very limited to no functionality, such as those old homes for the small trash cans. lots of those are cement and are in bad condition or have crumbled apart and been removed by some owners. As the City already knows there are many discrepancies. The further degradation of Gary Avenue and Raymond St. on Park View Island needs to be reversed. My question really is, since we’ve been blatantly left out of the North Beach CRA Boundary
(take a look at the map here ?https://www.miamibeachfl.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/
Proposed-CRA-Boundary.pdf?), and City Hall is afraid to touch anything to do with this subject for years. Where are we heading? Are we going to accept the path toward further degradation we’re currently on? What will our island be like in years when the new North Beach Town Center kicks into swing. We’re literally a block away from the Town Center boundary, will we realize we’ve been left behind again when our property prices don’t keep rising at the rate they once were in the past due to the fact the island just doesn’t have the services or amenities or conveniences other locations offer for the same price, increased competition in other areas where residents can live happily and not have to deal with the inconveniences of living in a not so secure neighborhood.
Further degradation will only lead to lower property values and less desirable tenants due to cheaper rents. How crammed and grungy it looks and will continue to look? We’re not heading in the right direction. Park View Island needs help from City Hall with Planning and Solutions to ensure we can get back on track to the real potential this island has and will come to have even more in the coming years.