Garden Of Our Lord Historic Designation Appeal Will Head To Court

Ariel Fernandez

Founder & Editor
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The appeal of the Historic designation application for Coral Gables’ Garden of our Lord was heard by the Coral Gables City Commission, at the Tuesday, March 14th City Commission meeting.

Commissioner Rhonda Anderson recused herself due to a conflict, which she defined as “based upon examination, cannot state that my vote regarding the historic designation of the property would not be influenced by evidence not in the record.”

Given 15 minutes, Appellant Bonnie Bolton presented nine criteria she believes would classify the Garden as Historic. Bolton had two experts present their basis for support of the designation.

City of Coral Gables Director of Historical Resources and Cultural Arts Warren Adams then presented on behalf of staff. Adams confirmed that the City Commission is able to designate a portion of the lot and is not required to designate the entire property. In other words, they could have designated the Garden alone, without affecting the developer’s ability to build on the lots housing the school and church.

Numerous residents spoke in favor of the appeal and several in opposition to the appeal.

The Commission explained that they had limited ability to act, as their option was only to approve the appeal, based on the City Attorney and staff’s recommendation.

The vote was unanimous to decline the appeal.

Gables Insider has learned that Bolton will be taking the next step and appealing the decision in Court.



29 thoughts on “Garden Of Our Lord Historic Designation Appeal Will Head To Court

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  2. How is it possible that the city commissioners are allowed to take most of the election ad funds from non-residents? How is it possible that an obvious historic landmark is being annihilated when there is not even a pressing need to do so in order to build? The Garden is a part of the original vision, and this entire story simply highlights the urgent need to beef up the laws that protect the rights of the actual residents of a municipality. But a law is not smth that adapts fast. So now it will be discovered empirically is there an existing law to protect a landmark, to designate what is clearly a landmark as such, to guard elections, and so on. Of course the development of Coral Gables is a welcome thing, and the fact that somebody profits from it is natural, why would they build otherwise. But it is their moral obligation to work to preserve the character and the quality of life of the place, the very things that keep the property prices high and encourage them to develop. Now it will be discovered, if this is not only moral, but a legal obligation as well. Why demolish when it is possible to build around, to incorporate?

  3. “Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation” is a Scottish folk song whose lyrics are taken from a poem written by Robert Burns in 1791, listed as number 5516 in the Roud Folk Song Index. It has continued to be associated with Scottish nationalism and also been referenced in other situations where politicians’ actions have gone against popular opinion.
    This was written 232 years ago.
    The lyrics and history are on the Wikipedia page.

    I’ve seen both words: “parcel” & “rogue” appear in some Insider articles and it reminded me of a favorite British Folk Rock album I have, by the group, Steeleye Span. One of my favorites from 1973.
    The perform a masterful version of the song.
    Their version is called Rogues In A Nation.
    Easily found if you’d like to hear it.

  4. Don’t be stupid. Don’t let non-residents choose our commissioner. A big “NO” to Bucelo.

  5. Alex Bucelo gets a lot of his CAMPAIGN MONEY FROM NON-RESIDENTS.
    If elected, Alex Bucelo will be the Coral Gables’ COMISSIONER FOR NON-RESIDENTS .

  6. We agree with all above comments. We witnessed first hand that the Mayor and all or most of the commissioners were enjoying lunch with Bucelo in their midst. Quite obvious he would be in their pocket. Very disheartening seeing people like Rhonda Anderson, whom we thought was a ray of sunshine for the residents of Coral Gables, being part of those who have betrayed us.

  7. The attacks on Ariel Fernandez become more severe because Bucelo/Lago have more fear of him and his supporters.

    The Garden is an essential part of the neighborhood consistent with George Merrick’s garden city concept documented in the 2018 historic city plan [a designated landmark]. In this document, staff includes a quote by Robert Stern– acclaimed author, distinguished architect and Dean Emeritus of Yale School of Architecture — stating “Coral Gables deserves consideration as one of the world’s preeminent garden villages” from his book, Paradise Planned: The Garden Suburb and the Modern City.

    The Garden’s wall is more than worthy of historic designation because of its architecture. It was designed by AIA Fellow and noted architect [and landscape and urban planner] Robert Fitch Smith, whose design and creative philosophy is explained in his own words: “Where does the house end and where does the Garden start? Need there be a definite line?” For Smith, the wall is not “a fragment” nor a “dangling participle ripped away from its context,” as one opponent of the Garden noted. No. On the contrary, Smith designed his works integrating the “house and the garden” in context–an integral part of his architectural philosophy.

  9. I am literally appalled at what I received in the mail today. NEVER in the history of Coral Gables have we had such dirty politics as the flyer stating Ariel Fernandez is a Socialist and stating his support for a disgraced Congressman. There is no notation on who sent this or who has approved this. This is just plain unacceptable trying to discredit someone instead of stating what positive things you will do for our City. The fact is Lago and the Commissioners are the worst bunch of crooks who have sold our City to developers. Bucelo is the lowest of the lowest and is in the back pocket of Lago and financed by developers. Look what this bunch has done to our City and then vote with the notion that “You will not take it anymore”. Ariel is a target because the developers and present leaders know he will support what the people want, listen to us, and push back on this underhanded group of leaders. We will find out who sent this flyer and we will expose you. How dare you bring this trash and propaganda into our City, just because you know Ariel will fight against your greed and pursuit of power over the will of the people of Coral Gables. I am ashamed at what has transpired politically in our City.

  10. I do not live in Coral Gables. But I made a large contribution to Alex Bucelo’s campaign, because he will make me rich.

  11. If you’ll leave me alone, I can have a unanimous commission and then I can do with the City whatever I want, with no questions asked!!! High rises for everyone!!! Please, let us commissioners enrich ourselves at your expense. Be trendy!! Be progressive. Alex and I will stick it to you, and you won’t feel a thing….Regards, Ronald McDonald the Mayor

  12. Quite appropriate that this issue appears near Easter, since this site was one of the best places to experience a Sunrise Service, and afterwards, what a wonderful breakfast was had by all!
    But…since this church was not growing, had no other branches (like in Spanish or Portuguese) to help pay the bills, it was only a Matter of Time, just like looking at what happened to the Christian Science Church across from City Hall on LeJeune Road, which is now reduced to meeting in their small reading room.
    As to whether the Garden itself merits preserving, that’s another issue, and it is ironic the city has parks and open space areas close by, and the Gables Women’s Club site on the north side, that could contain some of the plants.
    And there is a Lutheran church on LeJeune and Bird that could have received some of these plants on their larger property, not to mention another on Red Road further south and more out west.

  13. I support the preservation of the Garden. If successful, that legacy will be appreciated for many, many generations.

  14. A lot of contributions to Alex Bucelo’s campaign comes from out of town.

    Why are they interested in us?

    Is it to make money from our taxes?


  15. I say to Mr. Bucelo, “YOU CAN’T BUY AN ELECTION.” Your TV ads, telephone calls, and
    slogans in the mailbox mean nothing.


  16. Bonnie Bolton is my heroe! She has left no stone unturned in the Garden of the Lord. She continues to defend the rights of the residents over the voracious appetite of the developers.
    Ariel Fernandez will do the same. On Apr 11 vote for Ariel in the Coral Gables election to return our city to the residents!i

  17. “Bad men need nothing more than to see good men look on and do nothing more.”

    In Coral Gables, the bad men are Lago and company. The good men (and women) are the residents.


  18. What a bunch of useless deaf development loving Commissioners and Mayor. Anderson, shame on you for not voting so you could escape the wrath of distain from the Gables residents. We depended on you and now you have sealed your fate too. I can not tell you how much most of us loathe the lousy leadership of this City. Not ONE voted the way the majority of residents requested. Those in favor of ridding the Garden are supporting developers, work for them or are friends of them. To suffer under Lago because no one ran against him is an embarrassment. He has turned out to be one of the worst Mayors in our history and the Commissioners are in the same boat as him. I have never been so upset with Coral Gables as I am now, in the 30 years I have lived here. You all have ruined our City with your developer buddies. VOTE ARIEL ONLY. The rest are in Lago’s pocket.

  19. Thank you for your reporting.

    I support preserving The Garden of our Lord as Historic.

    The runaway development in our City has no purpose, and instead makes our City hostile to children, who are endangered by urbanization and the crime that comes with it.

    Citizens United enables developers to buy City Hall, donating 4 times as much to influence Coral Gables as all Voters combined. We need to stop this by amending our City Charter, and require Referendum voter approval of all major developments. The Cities of Miami Beach and Key Biscayne have already done this.


    Jackson Rip Holmes

  20. Cowardly is the word used for elected officials who do what they know is wrong… shame on our ELECTED officials. Vote Ariel Fernández

  21. It is abhorrent that not one commissioner voted in favor of the appeal. So much cowardice in this dais. Together with the current developer-friendly administration, these people are probably the most pernicious gang of politicians to ever disgraced our beloved city. Shame on them for having betrayed the will of the people in such a blatant manner. I can’t only shudder at the damage the mayor and his cronies may inflict to the City Beautiful in the next couple of years. Someone please grow a pair…

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