The Coastal Star

Gulf Stream: First home site plan on Spence property approved

By Tim O’Meilia
The first of six homes to be carved from the old Spence estate was approved unanimously by Gulf Stream town commissioners Oct. 12 without a whisper of complaint from nearby neighbors.
    The site plan for Lot 3 along North Ocean Boulevard includes a 9,200-square-foot, partial two-story, Bermuda-style home with a three-car garage and a swimming pool. A carriage house will sit atop the garage and will be connected with the main house by a breezeway.
    It will be the first house built in the new Harbor View Estates by Seaside Builders following prolonged discussions over the fate of the 6-acre estate.
    While neighbors in Hidden Harbor complained at a September Architectural Review and Planning Board meeting about the vegetation buffer, drainage and wall around the new subdivision, no one appeared at the commission meeting.
    “It should be acknowledged that no public comment was made at the meeting, and we must therefore assume that the community was satisfied,” said Commissioner Bob Ganger.
    Harbor View Estates architect Richard Jones said two more site plans will be presented to the commission in November and promised a variation in the design of the homes.
    In other business, commissioners postponed a decision on replacing 85 street lights until they learn whether the state Department of Transportation will reimburse the town for meeting state road lighting standards.
    Town Engineer Danny Brannon estimated that a 10-year agreement with FPL for the current yellow-hued, high-pressure sodium vapor lights would cost $117,000, including installation, maintenance and power costs but no upfront cost.
    Long-life LED lights, which emit a white light, have lower power costs but would cost $208,000 to install and $30,000 more over the life of the lamps. The town would be responsible for maintenance.
    Brannon recommended the FPL-installed lights. “You don’t have to deal with upfront money, and you don’t have to pay upkeep,” he said.
    Commissioners also approved spending up to $25,000 for accounting software to upgrade the more than decade-old software that is being phased out.    

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Comment by Christopher O'Hare on November 16, 2012 at 8:28am

I remember Jean and Edmond fondly for the many discussions we had while sitting at their breakfast table overlooking the garden. I first met the Spences when they replied to a Miami Herald profile of my work and invited me to rework parts of their garden. I was first impressed with their magnificent home but became more impressed with them. I had just completed a renovation of the Sebastian Kresge (Kmart) estate in Miami Beach and while describing the mansion, Edmond quickly sketched the lamp fixtures he had created for Mr. Kresge for this home when Ed was a young designer back in 1928. The very same fixtures that still grace the Kresge property (small world). Jean (Regina) gave me very sage advice on business, politics, art and philanthropy. Their extensive collection of art included many works by South African artists and their generosity is well known. It was always an inspiration to be with them. I can’t drive by the site of their home without fondly remembering those times.

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