After spending tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, Lynn Tran and Richard Hazen are taking the fight to keep their Florida beachfront treehouse all the way to the Supreme Court.
Prior to beginning construction on the treehouse, which was built around an Australian Pine on their property in 2011 on Anna Maria Island on Florida’s west coast, Hazen asked the city whether they needed a permit. They were told “No.”
An anonymous complaint was later lodged about the treehouse, which sparked an investigation. The city then learned that the couple did actually need to go through the permitting process, because the treehouse was found to be located in an area where building is prohibited. The couple asked if they could get around that legal snafu by having local voters weigh in, but were denied.
Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson acknowledged how the courts have sided with the city, and he called the situation “quite honestly a waste of time,” according to an Associated Press report.
“For some reason these people have this fixation on it,” he said.
The treehouse cost the couple about $30,000 to construct and probably five times that in legal fees as they’ve fought local authorities over it, Tran said. The Supreme Court is their last hope.
The justices had their first opportunity to consider taking the case at a closed-door conference Friday, and a decision on whether they will weigh in could come as early as Monday, according to Detroit News.
Attorney David Levin, who’s representing the couple, says that his clients’ rights were violated by the city of Holmes Beach.
“Part of me still believes there’s got to be justice out there and we didn’t do anything wrong,” Tran told reporters. She noted that in hindsight, they could have taken the money they’ve spent on the treehouse and built an actual house somewhere else.
They’ve been accumulating a $50-a-day fine for not taking down the treehouse which has reached tens of thousands of dollars.
“It’s kind of fun to have around,” said Tran as she cherishes each moment that the structure still exists.
A beachfront treehouse on Anna Maria may get the attention of the U.S. Supreme Court. Will it stay, or will it go?https://t.co/mppGj0B8bu
— Herald-Tribune (@HeraldTribune) January 6, 2018
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Below is another video filmed in 2013 with additional details on the situation.
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