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Miami Beach Mayor Hopes To Help Save Historic Homes

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A Star Island home designed by Walter Degarmo in 1925 may be razed and replaced by Lisa Hochstein, star of Bravo's "Real Housewives of Miami". Members of the Historic Preservation Board don't want the home torn down. (Source: CBS4)

A Star Island home designed by Walter Degarmo in 1925 may be razed and replaced by Lisa Hochstein, star of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Miami”. Members of the Historic Preservation Board don’t want the home torn down. (Source: CBS4)

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MIAMI BEACH (CBS4/The Miami Herald) – Preservationists are a step closer to saving a home on Miami Beach they believe should not be torn down.

The city’s mayor has proposed a six-month moratorium on the demolition of architecturally significant homes and preservationists wanting a court battle to save an 88-year-old mansion according to CBS4 news partner, The Miami Herald.

The paper reports Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower wants the city’s planning board to temporarily halt issuing demolition permits for homes built before 1942 with notable architectural features.

“I believe this moratorium is important to allow for the review of current and proposed ordinances that would protect against demolition of our historic single-family-home neighborhoods, while allowing time for further incentive programs to be developed in order to preserve more of our existing housing stock,” she wrote in a July 9 memo the paper reported.

In the past several months, the city has been looking for laws to preserve homes rather than demolish them.

Commissioners still need to consider the mayor’s proposal.

One of the homes that sparked a lot of debate is at 42 Star Island. The owners, Leonard Hochstein, a plastic surgeon and his wife, Lisa, a cast member of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Miami received permission to tear the home down.

The Miami Design and Preservation League (MDPL) appealed the demolition to circuit court.

Preservationists are also looking to the court to weigh in because they already lost their appeal to a city special master.

The city “did not adequately evaluate whether it was practical and feasible to repair and retain the home at 42 Star Island,” MDPL attorney Kent Harrison Robbins told the paper. “If the building can be saved, then that has to be analyzed and considered by the DRB and a new hearing has to be granted.”

The Miami Herald attempted to reach an attorney for the Hochsteins, but didn’t receive a comment.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)

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