September 30, 2022


World for Home.

His tiny home surrounded, he battles developer over dying garden

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — On Fifth Avenue in the swiftly shifting Flagler Village, a humble home surrounded by a forest of tropical trees seems to be like it’s about to be swallowed by a 5-story wall of pale gray concrete.

Julliano Jeyamo, the feisty proprietor of a little dwelling now dwarfed by the mammoth large-rise which is sprouted up coming doorway, states he’s been battling the project’s large shot developer for two decades — and dropping.

It is a typical David and Goliath tale unfolding on a the moment sleepy street in Flagler Village, an up-and-coming neighborhood in downtown Fort Lauderdale quick currently being overtaken by substantial-increase apartments, the place zoning variations have developed a collision of old Fort Lauderdale and the flashy long term.

Jeyamo, a 68-calendar year-previous indigenous-born Israeli, claims little fellas like him are remaining pushed out. But he refuses to go.

“I really don’t want to promote,” explained Jeyamo, who bought the wood-framed cottage at 714 Northeast Fifth Avenue for $46,000 in 2001. “This is my house. I would not promote it for any amount of money.”

Jeyamo’s dwelling was constructed in 1931, extensive just before the enhancement boom hit Flagler Village — a increase courted by town leaders to renovate a blighted place on the edge of downtown and protected Fort Lauderdale’s standing as the city centre of Broward County, all when lining city coffers with far more tax dollars.

To really encourage expansion, metropolis officials zoned the space high-density in the 1980s, allowing for developers to construct correct up to assets lines, irrespective of what lies following door.

Jeyamo’s modest two-bedroom household, all of 878 sq. feet, now sits in the shadow of what Jeyamo calls the monster venture that borders his residence: Quantum Flagler Village, a $160 million mixed-use growth at 701 North Federal Highway with two 15-tale apartment towers, a 9-story Marriott and a five-tale parking garage that casts permanent shade on his yard.

Jeyamo states he dropped additional than peace and silent when the building cranes and buzzing chainsaws settled in up coming door. He also missing his lush eco-friendly backyard with its cheery burst of pink and yellow flowers. The peaceful sanctuary, so diligently tended above the yrs, now appears more like a place exactly where factors occur to die, Jeyamo suggests.

‘They killed my trees’

The royal palms that after lined his assets stand lifeless as phone poles, their green fronds missing. His foxtail palms are lifeless. So are the sabal palms, a tangerine tree and the old bonsai, a treasured reward from his grandfather.

“You can not think about all the hurt he did in my back garden,” he claimed. “My grandfather gave me a bonsai 30 several years back. They poured concrete on it and it’s now useless. They killed my trees, all my shrubs. I lost my tangerine tree. The tree is lifeless now, all brown. My trees are lifeless for one cause, mainly because they poured cement on them.”

During building, he claims cement and bricks rained down on his yard, killing trees and destroying his koi pond and h2o lilies. He also statements some palms were moved without his permission and afterwards died.

Meanwhile, the developer’s law firm contends that Jeyamo signed an arrangement allowing for them access to his lawn to do the job.

Two walls now forged a shadow on his lawn, one to the east and a further to the south.

With his house hemmed in by development, Jeyamo states he’s been forced to pick up trash that’s landed in his property on an practically every day foundation: Styrofoam food stuff containers, plastic baggage, empty water bottles, and, he statements, bottles crammed with urine.

Jeyamo details to a corner of his residence where by he suggests a person of his palms utilized to are living.

“They moved it without having my permission,” he stated. “It was dead within just six months.”

Then, in a fatigued and weary voice, he stated: “I never believe I’ll at any time get the backyard garden again the way it was. I really feel like I’m in a prison when I action exterior.”

He gestured to the tall gray wall overlooking his garden to the south.

“Alcatraz has a wall like that,” he said.

Vincent Vaccarella, attorney for the developer, suggests his customer has presented to transfer or substitute the palm trees and is even now hoping to perform out a coordinated plan with Jeyamo, so crews can achieve accessibility to his house and complete their perform on the exterior wall.

The higher-rise venture is because of to be concluded shortly, but 1st the five-tale wall dealing with Jeyamo’s garden requires to be coated with stucco.

“The only way he can do the stucco is to go on my house,” Jeyamo reported. “But the trees are hugging the wall. They need to have to set up scaffolding to do the stucco and there’s no place. And now the wall is not performed. And folks are wondering why.”

A cry for help

As it turns out, the law is on the facet of the developer.

Jeyamo insists the developer was demanded to build 5 ft from the home line. But the higher-density zoning for Jeyamo’s community will allow builders to build right up to the home line, explained Anthony Fajardo, Fort Lauderdale’s director of Enhancement Companies.

Jeyamo claims he’s set in various phone calls to the office of Commissioner Steve Glassman complaining about the damage to his house, but so far Glassman has not paid him a go to.

Glassman says he has under no circumstances spoken instantly with Jeyamo but both of those of his fee assistants have.

“He’s arrived at out to the office,” explained Glassman, who represents the community. “I’m guaranteed everything was referred to code.”

Glassman was shocked to hear that some of the trees are so close to the creating that their trunks are touching the wall, leaving no place for scaffolding or stucco get the job done.

“This is the 1st time I’m hearing of this type of extreme problem,” Glassman explained. “This seems like a pretty uncommon occasion. I’m amazed it received this far.”

Jeyamo faults metropolis commissioners for approving the progress. But in simple fact, they hardly ever even cast a vote.

Alternatively, it was approved by the city personnel who serve on the Improvement Evaluate Committee. The fee experienced the alternative of contacting it up for overview but never did, Fajardo claimed.

The Quantum venture broke ground in mid-2019.

A 12 months afterwards, Jeyamo says he woke up to the sounds of crews shifting one of his palm trees without the need of his permission. The trees experienced to be moved so the staff could dig a trench, Jeyamo says he was told.

In the days and months that followed, Jeyamo claims he watched helplessly though workers dropped damp cement that turned to concrete, killing trees and detrimental yard benches and statues.

The developer has agreed to solution any damages to the property, Vaccarella claims, but are unable to do so with no obtain to the assets.

You are on your own, homeowner informed

Jeyamo says he referred to as code enforcement several instances to complain about design crews going trees, destroying his yard and applying his assets as a design web-site. They came out and took pictures but informed him there was nothing they could do, he explained.

City records display that code enforcement came out to examine but identified it was a civil dispute among the construction web-site and neighbor and shut the case.

For months, Jeyamo has refused to allow for construction crews on his house to complete the stucco get the job done on the wall of the parking garage that overlooks his yard.

Jeyamo says he’s been working with Edward Abbo, Primary Group’s chief functioning officer, and pointed to what he calls a critical piece of proof, a description of a $5,500 examine he suggests Abbo handed him on Sept. 21. The description says merely, “replacement trees.”

But the developer says the funds was paid out in exchange for gaining entry to Jeyamo’s assets. A copy of the look at supplied to the courtroom by the developer claims “access arrangement.”

According to a Sept. 24 agreement that bears Jeyamo’s signature, he signed absent his rights to sue the developer or to even complain about the challenge to city officers.

Vaccarella says Jeyamo knowingly and willingly signed the arrangement and acknowledged payment.

“He had no issue cashing the check, but now does not want to honor the agreement,” Vaccarella reported.

But Jeyamo suggests he signed a blank paper at Abbo’s request to establish he experienced accepted a verify to include damages to his home.

‘I would hardly ever have signed that’

Jeyamo says the $5,500 test was meant to protect damages by way of February 2021, but he estimates total damages at a lot more than $20,000.

“He tricked me,” Jeyamo explained to the Sunshine Sentinel.

Jeyamo claims the 1st time he laid eyes on the 3-website page agreement granting the developer’s employees authorization to action foot on his house was on Oct. 15, when someone left it on his entrance door.

“It claims I just cannot sue him and I can’t even complain about him to the metropolis,” Jeyamo claimed. “I would by no means have signed that.”

Jeyamo submitted a handwritten take note to the court in December saying he under no circumstances agreed to let design staff on his property.

“I feel that non-public assets ownership in the Usa is a simple and sacred correct and that the proprietor has a basic appropriate to protect his assets from further more trauma or destruction,” his notice stated.

Key Group, the Hollywood-based mostly developer, took Jeyamo to court docket, hoping a decide would power him to allow crews on his residence so they can end the position.

A choose ruled in the developer’s favor in March, granting the unexpected emergency injunction.

“While he complains about purported destruction to his residence triggered by the construction, the plain language of the arrangement demonstrates that Primary has agreed to solution any problems,” Vaccarella mentioned. “Prime can’t do so with out entry to the home. If he actually desires the function finished and any hurt to his house repaired then he would have gone via with the agreement and allowed Key accessibility to do so. The property would have been restored to equal or much better ailment and we would be performed.”

Jeyamo has lawyered up and strategies to charm.

Attorney Michael Garcia, employed on Dec. 10, now signifies Jeyamo.

“He genuinely just needed his peace and tranquil,” Garcia explained to the Solar Sentinel. “He just wishes to be remaining alone and his house not harmed.”

Abbo could not be attained for comment in spite of two texts and 5 calls to equally his mobile and do the job telephones this 7 days. A South Florida Sun Sentinel reporter also stopped by the site’s design place of work Tuesday and left a business card.

Vaccarella states his consumer has experimented with to function with Jeyamo.

“From our standpoint, we are attempting to be respectful and coordinate obtain,” Vaccarella reported. “But considering that December it’s been disheartening for Primary to converse with Mr. Jeyamo. It’s been a parade of things that have saved [construction crews] from getting obtain. He’s denied access to the residence. We have tried out to be fantastic neighbors. He’s created a variety of agreements that he’s long gone back on.”

Jeyamo says he does not personal a pc or smartphone and has no entry to the World-wide-web.

He retains a folder filled with papers chronicling the saga that started when construction crews descended on his neighborhood.

From slum to warm spot

Community developer Charlie Ladd states he’s read rumblings about the ongoing dispute between Prime Group and Jeyamo, but known as it a rarity.

“This is an strange case,” claimed Ladd, previous president of the Fort Lauderdale Downtown Progress Authority. “The whole thing’s a disgrace. There is been dozens and dozens of properties that have gone up downtown and there have not been grievances like this.”

There’s a purpose the town adjusted the zoning to what it is currently, Ladd stated.

The neighborhood which is on fire nowadays applied to be a slum again in the 1970s and 1980s, he claimed. The zoning was modified to lure builders to commit in the location — and which is what is happening now.

Walter Daly, a neighbor of Jeyamo’s, stopped by a single day to study the injury.

“It was this kind of a wonderful backyard, almost like a park,” he stated. “It’s heading to acquire a long time to get his property again the way it was. You can see how significantly destruction has been completed.”

Daly seemed all over at all the lifeless trees and shook his head.

“Here he is trying to sustain the lush environmentally friendly of Outdated Florida,” he mentioned. “And now appear at it. He worked on this for 20 several years. And now it is all long gone. They are attempting to push guys like him out with all this concrete.”

If Jemayo ever decides to income in, his residence would very likely offer for $800,000 or far more, Ladd predicted.

“I have a challenging time crying for these fellas who have noticed their home values skyrocket,” Ladd reported. “Do you know of everyone out there who will get upset that their property values have gone up? All they have to do is promote. If he’s worried about getting pinched, he can offer his property for 10 times what it made use of to be really worth.”

But activist Clive Taylor Jr. praised Jeyamo for refusing to sell in a frenzied industry where by the all-mighty dollar is king.

“He should get a medal for currently being a holdout and preserving a piece of record right before our eyes,” Taylor mentioned.

President of the Hollywood Historical Society, Taylor grew up in Fort Lauderdale and nevertheless remembers what Jeyamo’s street appeared like in advance of alter arrived knocking.

“That residence is an endangered species in that community,” Taylor explained. “That community was entire of people little wood cottages and now they are disappearing each day. This was wherever the performing class lived in the 1930s and where these cottages have been constructed. And now they’re heading away.”