Monday, September 21, 2015

Banned in Coral Gables - a brief history of saying no to everything

Coral Gables calls itself "The City Beautiful."

But over the years it's also earned itself the unofficial nickname of "Moral Gables."

The city is infamously known for its strict building codes and goofy laws that spell out everything from how many cats a resident can own to an outright ban on tents and backyard tree houses.

In 1949, the city passed an ordinance banning "crime comic books."

In 1970, the city tried and failed to ban the showing of the movie, "Woodstock."

In 1972, the Coral Gables city commission was urged to ban the movie, "Last Tango in Paris," because the theater scheduled to show it was near a school.

In 1974, a Gables cop was suspended for shacking up with his  girlfriend.

In 1978, the city commission passed an ordinance that prohibited residents from owning more than four cats.

And, at one time, video games were banned within city limits.

As late as 1987, the city commission passed a ban on beer sales at a Miracle Mile outdoor street festival. One commissioner justified her vote by saying, "drugs and alcohol are linked together."

Twenty years ago, the city spent over $130,000 of taxpayer money trying to "outlaw Miami New Times' brightly colored newspaper boxes" on the city's sidewalks.

In June 2011, Coral Gables residents who owned pickup trucks were told they would not not be able to park their vehicles in their driveways or on city streets from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

The Miami Herald reported the city was resuming enforcement of a "controversial [city] law because ... the Florida Supreme Court decided not to consider an appeal by Lowell Kuvin, who sued Coral Gables in 2003 after code-enforcement officers cited him for parking his pickup truck on a residential street."

[UPDATE: From a March 2012 Miami Herald story: "Coral Gables pickup truck owners would be allowed to park their vehicles in residential driveways, but only if the front faces the street and the truck has a covered bed, under proposals discussed by a city advisory board on Monday."]

But, The Gables - it turns out - wasn't always so "moral."

In the 1920's, if you wanted to gawk at naked ladies, all you had to do was drive on over to the Coral Gables Golf and Country Club.

The staid country club, it seems, featured nude dancers.

But for some reason, in 1927, the club changed course and decided to give "dancers with a wardrobe a chance."

Said the club's managing director Fred E. Mann, "Not that we are opposed to dancers au naturelle, but we believe the patrons of the club have had sufficient of the terpsichorean endeavors of the young women who eschew clothing in their act."

From the Miami Daily News, March 4, 1927


  1. WTH do they have against pickup trucks? How do lawn care companies operate there? That is the stupidest law I've ever heard!

  2. Hey, I graduated high school there in 1970 and one of my friends back then had to sell his really cherry Ford pickup because they wouldn't allow him to park it in his own families driveway. They said he would only be allowed to park it in a closed garage and his was an open carport. He tried to have the carport enclosed but that wasn't allowed either because it was originally built with less setback distance from the property line and they had increased the setback distance since then so they wouldn't issue a permit for it.

  3. The lack of freedom is an exchange for a beautiful looking village. If you want freedom with a truck, you can always move to Homestead or Hialeah.


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