Huffpost Miami

Florida Couple's Elaborate Beach Treehouse Could Be Torn Down (VIDEO, PHOTO)

Posted: Updated:

A Florida couple and city officials are in a legal push-and-pull over an elaborate beachfront treehouse the couple built on their property in Holmes Beach.

Richard Hazen began building the structure in April 2011 after he says city officials told him no permit or paperwork was required. Watch the video above.

The partially enclosed wraparound style deck has Hurricane-impact glass and pressurized wood.

(Story continues after photo.)
florida treehouse beach

It took six months and $20,000 to build the private oasis, which wife Lynn Tran calls a "place to be one with nature" in the above interview with the Today Show.

A few weeks ago however the City of Holmes Beach contacted the couple, who own and run Angelinos Sea Lodge resort, and said the treehouse was a safety hazard to the public.

The code enforcement officer also added that "To be frankly blunt, if you did not receive a written response to a detailed submittal then no approval can be inferred from a casual conversation," according to documents posted on the couple's web site.

The City has since threatened steep daily fines and ultimately demolition of the treehouse.

In response, the couple started an online petition, acquiring over 4,000 signatures, and have hired a lawyer to help them obtain an "after the fact" permit for the structure.

Meanwhile the city has claimed that the treehouse construction destroyed nearby sea turtle habitat, a claim local Turtle Watch director Suzi Fox says is just not true.

"They're gonna need to come collect that data from me if they want to use that against the owners of the treehouse," Fox told WFLA.

A code hearing is scheduled for later this month.

UPDATE: Lynn Tran issued the below clarification to HuffPost Miami:

The previous building official approved as no permit. The new official said it needs a permit, reversed the previous official determination and want us to comply to all code rules. State law said it's exempt from permit requirements. Most people think the issue is whether we got the approval in writing. That is not the issue here.

Around the Web

Florida couple fights city to save their magnificent 2-story tree house

Double-decker Florida treehouse may have to come down

Town says $20000 treehouse is a hazard, not a haven

Couple fights to keep island tree house

Tentative code hearing set on HB treehouse HB prepares to hear alleged ...