Miami's 'Stiltsville' Homes Survive
Jun. 21, 1999
MIAMI (AP) _ A colorful little cluster of homes called Stiltsville, built on poles over Biscayne Bay, received a five-month reprieve Monday.
Homeowners had faced a July 1 deadline for removal of the seven homes, which sit on bay bottom land annexed by the National Park Service in 1980.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., who had joined homeowners in fighting the removal, said the park service's new Dec. 1 deadline offers breathing room to work out a solution.
``Obviously, everybody is pleased,'' said Laura Roberts, an organizer of Save Old Stiltsville, an owners group.
Biscayne National Park Superintendent Dick Frost had argued that there is no legal provision to allow the private homes on public property. Environmental groups had backed Frost's plans to remove the structures.
The Stiltsville homes are the descendants of a community that began in the early 1930s, when structures were built on sunken barges.
Over the years other homes were added, mostly on pilings driven into the bay bottom. At its height, there were about 25 dwellings, used for weekend retreats and parties but seldom as full-time homes.
For many years, they had a colorful reputation as hangouts for gamblers, boozers and flashy women. They have appeared repeatedly in novels and on television.