Here we go again with these ridiculous fences. I just received an email informing me that tomorrow night (April 2nd) @ 7pm the Morningside Civic Association will hold a meeting to discuss perimeter fencing around Morningside. The meeting is open to all and will start at 7:00pm at the offices of Morningside Park (NE 55th Terrace, east of the tennis courts).

Some of you may recall that several months ago, the City of Miami bankrolled $50,000 of public funds on a fence for Belle Meade. I really hope the city isn’t coughing up the money to build a fence for Morningside too. The Belle Meade fence was a complete embarrassment and a waste of money. Even if Morningside residents decide to finance the fence on their own dime, the County and City should not allow fences to be built, much less support this type of silly urban planning that won’t reduce crime.

I think our video about the Belle Meade fence says it all. Hopefully, most of the residents of Morningside understand that fencing will not deter crime.


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31 Responses to Morningside to Become Miami’s Next Gated Community?

  1. Bruce Barham says:

    The Belle Meade fence has done it’s intended job according to Miami Police Commander Morales. Crime has been significantly lowered, police officers can now patrol other areas making the $50k one time price tag a bargain. Go for it Morningside.


  2. That’s BS Bruce. This fence isn’t doing a single thing to deter crime. Watch my video and you’ll see for yourself that this fence is worthless and a waste of money. Even the dumbest of criminals can get around this fence.


  3. sean says:

    Do you live in Morningside? your video really doesn’t prove much other than there is a breach area in belle meade. I live in morningside and most crime is car break ins. because every street is open to biscayne and easily accessible. Are you telling me that if bay point remove’s their wall won’t see a spike in crime? To me if the amount of theft drops down by half it is worth it.


  4. You are comparing apples and oranges with the Bay Point wall. Even with the Bay Point wall there is crime in this community. Bay Point is also a private community, they own their roads. Morningside is not private. Any fence in Morningside must have gates on them to allow for public access, just like Belle Meade’s half-baked fence. You are living in a fantasy world if you think the Belle Meade fence has actually reduced crime.


  5. BD says:

    Perhaps the transportation or mobility element should be raised on this site?


  6. Bruce Barham says:

    Felipe, you’re ignoring the facts. City of Miami Police Commander Morales has the stats which demonstrate and he has clearly stated that the Belle Meade fence is helping to lower crime in the neighborhood. Crime rates were higher before the fence, now crime rates are down after the construction of the fence. Pretty simple. I’ll take his professional law enforcement opinion over your’s, thank you.

    The video is cute but the truth is that real criminals are as dumb as the phony ones depicted. Today the perception is that Belle Meade is a “gated community” and the criminals are going elsewhere.

    Try thinking of this scenario, if criminal activity picks up down the road, the residents of Belle Meade can lock the gates to provide additional sense of security.

    Not to mention that, IMO, Belle Meade property values have gone up thanks to the “closing” of our streets. All this by simply upgrading existing infrastructure, something that can also be done in Morningside which has, like Belle Meade for years, barricaded it’s streets to vehicular traffic. The difficult and expensive work has already been done.

    To all my friends in Morningside, build your fence.


  7. I want to see these statistics that you speak of. Again, there is no evidence that gated communities are safer or that property values are higher than non-gated communities. Fact-the highest property values in the world are in cities such as NYC, London, Paris, and San Francisco. None of these cities have gated communities like Belle Meade or Morningside.

    You Sir, are ignoring the facts. You choose to believe what you want to believe. Provide me with facts not rhetoric.

    Criminals are not as dumb as those that believe a fence will deter crime.


  8. Bruce Barham says:

    You speak in generalities, apples and orange-like.

    Come to the next BMHO meeting and specifically ask Commander Morales yourself about the crime rates.


  9. Jack says:

    Fences send a very bad message and relinquishes any responsibility which is the back bone of a strong community.


  10. Eran Spiro says:

    Putting up the fence on the roads easements in Belle Meade has been a success. This stupid video put up by commissioner Sarnoff is a big joke. It is cynical full of innuendoes and belittles the commissioner office. Morningside should not be deterred by Sarnoff ignorance and install fences at 51st street,terrace, 52nd street, 54th street and 55/56/as well.
    Get moving as time is of the essence…


  11. Eran,

    Sarnoff had nothing to do with the video. Transit Miami produced this video. Get your facts straight.

    This fence has not succeeded in deterring crime. From last night’s Morningside meeting “It is worthwhile noting that Commander Morales mentioned that the crime rate was particular high in Dec/Jan compared to the previous year and that the crime rate was able to be reduced after rearranging/reorganizing police resources (i.e. shifts, number of officers, times of patrol, etc).”

    The fence isn’t doing jack shit. I find it hard to believe that you are an urban planning and design consultant. Very sad actually. Please provide me with facts that fences are effective in deterring crime.


  12. Dave says:

    Why would anyone want to live in an area where they feel so un-safe and rich people are so afraid of the poor people that live near them that they feel the need to put up a wall? Or on the same note why would any one ever move into an area that put one up? Maybe Brickell should put fences on the banks of the Miami River to keep anyone from Overtown out.


  13. Felipe Azenha says:


    According to Commander Morales- “The UES is one of the safest neighborhoods in all of Miami”. He has said this on repeated occasions.


  14. B says:

    Property values in Belle Meade have gone up probably because property values have gone up IN GENERAL since the real estate bubble burst a few years ago. Morningside has probably seen property values increase even without having gates.


  15. B says:

    However, “one of the safest neighborhoods within Miami city limits” is not a very high standard.


  16. Bruce Barham says:

    “Safe” is relative. So are the crime statistics as they are significant as to where your house is located. In Belle Meade it used to be that the further away from the Boulevard your house was located the “safer” you were. Criminals would dash in the streets from 6th Court to 7th Ave., break into what was left unattended or unlocked, stash the stolen property in the foliage in the barricades and go back for more. Now that we have the fence, it seems that crime has moved east. Also maybe some of our neighbors have been lured into complacency & they leave their cars unlocked promoting more easy criminal activity. On my street, between NE 7th Av. and NE 6th Court since the fence has been constructed I can personally report that crime is WAY down. In the two years before the fence, EVERY house on both sides of my street were victims of theft. Some dear neighbor had a gun stuck in their face. That’s just not the case now.
    After that gun incident, Belle Meade homeowners were polled about the fence and over 92% voted for it. We were sick and tired of the crime. The Belle Meade Homeowners’ Assoc. Special Projects Manager and President conducted the poll door-to-door over several weekends. It wasn’t until much later that Commissioner Sarnoff offered to work to provide City funds to pay for our original home grown plan. The funds to build the fence were voted on by the City Commission and approved unanimously on April 26, 2012. The vast majority of the residents of Belle Meade are happy with the look and results of the fence. Let Morningside residents decide for themselves about the needs of their neighborhood. Can we in Belle Meade retire the rehashed video & finally move on? Aren’t there more important issues to discuss? For a start, how about fighting to keep speed bumps out of our neighborhood…


  17. sean says:

    Just last night two more break ins right across from my house. I don’t know about BM but morningside homeowners as myself, which I have lived here for 10 years pays about 950 per year per house for the current gates/security at 50ter and 58th st. there are aprox 550 houses in morningside. I am all for the gates. Being that morningside like all other areas that have MUCH higher property taxes help subsidize other areas I have NO problem as a tax payer to use these funds to help secure this neighborhood even if it is only a fraction more safe.


  18. Belle Meade neighbor says:


    Nobody forced you to buy a home on the busiest street in Belle Meade. No matter how many cones, bumps, swirls, circles, or signs you try to place in our neighborhood, it will still not change the fact that people will drive past your home.

    Just because you write a blog, please do not mistake that for having the approval from the Belle Meade community to speak on everyone’s behalf.

    You might not like fences, but the overwhelming majority of the community voted for having a fence. It seems that if you were to get your way, you would have no problem letting the city spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to put physical barriers with the intent of “controlling” our neighborhood.

    Just because you did not vote for the Belle Meade fence does not mean that the money spent on it wasteful or stupid. You were outvoted. Get over it.

    Everyone who is not on board with the Felipe “plan” is labeled a “hater” or a “jack ass” by you. You also throw tantrums like a toddler when anyone says anything you disagree with at a meeting. With all of the nasty words you sling around on your blogs and in person, it seems as though the only “Hater” or “Jack Ass” to be found is you. Why can’t you embrace the fact that Miami has many diverse communities and everyone has an equal vote in how they are governed. You can’t fault the majority for going a different direction than yours.

    Now you’re even trying to force the “Felipe plan” on other neighborhoods. If you are so unhappy with the traffic conditions in Belle Meade, why did you buy here in the first place? You can experiment with a “selling your house” plan and I’m sure that will create a “calmer” Belle Meade.

    As far as Morningside voting on a fence, what business is it of yours? You are over-stepping your boundaries and need to learn to let the homeowners of Morningside have their vote. If you want to vote for their fence, buy a home in Morningside. Until then, let them make their own decision. Stay out of it.

    It seems as though the only thing that will make you happy is no cars in Belle Meade or Miami at all.

    Whenever you go to a community meeting, you say “trust me” as though you are the only authority on what is right for our neighborhood. If you were a little more observant about the people in our community, you will see that you are surrounded by a very well educated group of people who know how to be civil and play nice together. The nicest thing about Belle Meade is the fact that we’ve all learned to look out for each other and treat our neighbors with respect. Something which you do not do.

    You are living in fantasy land thinking you can control all of Miami. Most of the types of positions allowing control of budgets and planning require election to public office. Too bad all of us “Haters” are the ones you will need to depend on to earn those votes because we’re already tired of the Felipe Plan.


  19. Felipe Azenha says:

    Belle Meade neighbor,

    I apologize for using the word jackass. I should have chosen my words more carefully, but I still think we have a few “haters” in Belle Meade that prefer to see cars speed through the neighborhood rather than make Belle Meade’s street safer for our children and for pedestrians. Case in point, someone called the cops on me because I put traffic cones in the street to calm traffic- that’s a hater if I have ever seen one.

    I’m over the fact that the fence was built and I am happy that at the very least I was able to insure pedestrian access through the ridiculous fence. These are public streets and Belle Meade residents do not own them-although many seem to think they do.

    I don’t claim to be an authority, but I do have a background in urban planning and real estate development, so I consider myself educated and well versed with traffic calming and urban planning issues. All the research I have read shows that fencing communities does not reduce crime and that calming traffic makes streets safer for everyone, including drivers.

    The Morningside fence is 100% my business. I use Morningside park and usually run or bike there. I should not be forced to go out of my way to use a public park. The streets of Morningside belong as much to me as they do to the residents of Morningside.

    I actually like cars, so I do not want to see a Miami without cars. What I would like to see is a Miami with more mobility options. That includes access to city streets for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as transit.

    Please do not put words in my mouth, I know I don’t speak for all the residents of Belle Meade and have never lead anyone to believe that. Traffic calming does not have to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, this is another exaggeration on your behalf. What I said at the meeting was that for $100,000-which is the cost of a traffic circle-we could calm traffic in all of Belle Meade and not one intersection.

    When I purchased my home I realized that I bought on the busiest street in Belle Meade, but that does not mean I have to accept people speeding through my street. No family with children should have to put it with this.

    I’m not trying to control Belle Meade or even Miami as you claim. You can rest assured that I have no intention of running for office. All I’m looking to do is make my neighborhood as great a place for families to live. Making our streets safer is good for our property values; so is having a walkable neighborhood.

    If you would like to attack me, please use your full name next time.
    Thank you neighbor.



  20. sean says:

    Felipe, living in belle meade and using morningside park is considered going out of your way, because you have a park on 62nd which is actually closer to you. IF you mean because each street would be closed off to foot traffic, well, that would be like me complaining that I must use 50th ter or 58th to get to my house and not be able to drive down the street I live directly from biscayne (which I don’t)…


  21. Felipe Azenha says:

    There are amenities in morningside park that other parks do not offer, that’s why I use morningside park. I hate to break it to you but morningside residents does not own Morningside park. It is a public park. You cannot limit my access to a public park.


  22. sean says:

    Felipe, no one said anything about limiting your access to the park. you can enter via 58th street or both terrace same way I use to enter to go to my house? what is the issue. Honestly, I wish they would put meters at the park and start charging to limit the hoodlums that frequent there. If you are a home resident in the area then some sort of pass. IT’s not a far fetch idea as I have to pay to use the tennis courts but live 3 blocks from them…


  23. sean says:

    * enter via 58th or 50th terrace… sorry autocorrect mixed that sentence up.


  24. Felipe Azenha says:

    That is limiting my access. Parent’s with strollers, the handicap, cyclists and pedestrians should not have to walk out of their way to get to the park. I’m not even sure why i’m discussing this with you since you won’t be able to limit my access. The fence will be required to have gates, just like Belle Meade.


  25. sean says:

    biscayne is full of handicap, people with strollers…

    I have no problem getting to my home via 58th street or 50th terrace. Neither should you especially since you are a VISITOR..


  26. Felipe Azenha says:

    Therein lies the problem. I am not a VISITOR. I consider myself to be resident of the Upper Eastside, not a resident of only Belle Meade. Morningside is as much my neighborhood as it is yours Sean. Good luck closing those streets.


  27. sean says:

    Felipe, Belle Meade is a different neighborhood. Not only by definition but by the city of miami. When I travel into Belle Meade I am a visitor. Just as you are a Visitor to Morningside


  28. Morningside it part of the Upper Eastside Sean
    You should spend more time trying to make the entire neighborhood safer rather than trying to isolate yourself from the community you are a part of. The only way Morningside will become safer is if the entire Upper Eastside neighborhood become safer. That means allowing proper mixed-use dense development to occur. The more eyes on the street the safer our neighborhood becomes. Building a fence with gapping holes won’t do a thing to make Morningside safer.


  29. B says:

    @Sean: Your home is PRIVATE property. The park is PUBLIC property supported by all taxpayers alike, as are the roads in both Belle Meade and Morningside. NO taxpaying resident is a “visitor” of these facilities, in the sense of a visitor to your private home.

    There are plenty of private, gated communities in both Miami-Dade and Broward counties which were designed and built as such, and which manage their own gates, roads, and landscaping through the HOA, and which are comparably priced and safer than Morningside. Perhaps you should consider buying a home in one of those communities. In an urban setting, people do generally walk, run, and cycle to public parks. If you don’t like the crowd that goes to public parks in urban environments, don’t live near a public park in an urban environment!


  30. Jack says:

    Is there any numbers proving that the fence has been effective? Or are we jumping at something that promises safety but in fact does very little? Wouldn’t constructing attractive planters creating cul de sacs have the same effectiveness without adding fences? Basically stopping traffic but not pedestrian traffic


  31. Putting up fence seems to promote exclusivity. And I guess that would be one way of reducing crimes. Outsiders couldn’t easily get inside in your area because of the fence.


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