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Fence headaches in Surfside

A Surfside resident, who has waited for four months to get approval from board members to install a fence — and is still waiting — said she feels town officials dragged their feet.

Elena Rodriguez recently moved from downtown Miami to Surfside. She renovated the home at 500 Surfside Blvd., completing most work in February 2017. However, an essential component was missing.

“I need a fence. Not only for security purposes but because I have two beautiful dogs that like to run around,” Rodriguez said.

By Giola Aragozzini
South Florida News Service
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She said she thought the issue would be straight-forward, and was surprised about the number of questions she received from town officials. Her first attempt in March to get a permit was rejected because, Rodriguez said, she was told she needed tell her neighbors.

But the neighbor, Paula Puello, said it was not necessary.

“The fence in the design was strictly in her own property, it was nice of her to inform me but there was no need,” she said.

On May 25, Rodriguez went to the Surfside Planning and Zoning meeting for a second time, accompanied with her husband, Massimo Rodriguez, and architect, Omar Guerra.

“But of course, there had to be another problem,” Guerra said.

The Surfside board members disapproved of the aluminum fencing in the design. Board member Lindsay Loucer said that the town should have a friendly, open and colorful feel.

“It looks like jail walls. It’s definitely too dark and too closed-up,” she said.

Town Planner Sarah Sinatra Gould said that all houses, residents and condominiums near main roads have to meet design standards to foster sociability in the small town.

“Since 2015, we are promoting a more welcoming and hospitable area to Surfside residents,” she said.

But Massimo Rodriguez said that for months they have had to keep their dogs in the house.

“Too much time has already been wasted on deciding the color of the fence and the percentage of opacity it should have,” he said.

Rodriguez added that he understands the town’s goals in terms of design. But, she said, board members should respect the design choices of property owners.

The board members did later agree on the design, but required landscaping be added soften its appearance. Elena and Massimo Rodriguez will attend the Planning and Zoning meeting for a third time on June 28, hoping to get everything finalized.

“At this point I don’t care. I just want a bloody fence,” Elena Rodriguez said.

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