42 Star Island a Gonna?

A series of bureaucratic mishaps might mean the destruction of 42 Star Island, in the latest development in the ongoing saga of the Star Island home of Leonard and Lisa Hochstein.

Last week, things were left in a holding pattern when the Miami Beach Design Review Board deferred approval of the plans for the 20,000-square foot Star Island Mansion until their next meeting in March. But on Tuesday, the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board opted to move forward with the process to save the 1925 Walter DeGarmo designed mansion for historic designation at their meeting.

So, cue the preservationists celebrating a victory.

Well, not quite.

It turns out, that two technical snafu’s might derail the assignation process. The first snafu came clear at the Tuesday meeting when it was discovered that City staffers failed to file the necessary preliminary paperwork for the project before the meeting began. Miami Beach’s preservation director, William Cary, decide to wait until the board meeting to ask board members whether they intended to file the preliminary report. Cary had mixed feelings on the designation, because even though he acknowledged that the home met the criteria for designation, he felt it was ethically unfair that none of this was done until after the Hochsteins submitted their plans for their new home.

“The couple has already spent time and money drawing up plans and going through the application process,” he said. “I think it’s a bad precedent to set.”

And, then there is snafu number two. Even if the paperwork was prepared on time, the board would have been unable to take binding action because, according to the city, The Miami Herald failed to publish an advertisement purchased by the city to notify the public of the meeting. Actions taken at a meeting that was not properly advertised are null and void.

So what does this all mean?

Well, it means that the race is on between the Hochsteins and the Miami Design Preservation League. Whoever gets in first, wins. Eventhough the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board unanimously decided to move forward with the historic designation process they won’t take up the application until April. But the design board meets on March 5 and if the owners get the demolition application approved first, it will void the historic designation process.

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