Holmes Beach treehouse couple ask neighbors for help - WFLA News Channel 8

Holmes Beach treehouse couple ask neighbors for help

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MANATEE COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

It's becoming a legal saga with a worldwide audience.

The owners of a Holmes Beach treehouse claim they had verbal permission to build it, but now the city is telling them to tear it down.

It's already made headlines around the world, and on Tuesday night, the owners will start asking their neighbors for help.

The couple who own this treehouse want to get a proposed ordinance passed that would allow the treehouse to remain.

But before commissioners can decide on the measure, the owners need to collect more than 300 signatures on a formal city petition.

Off Avenue 'E', behind Angelino's Beach resort, you'll find the latest international attraction at Holmes Beach.

But the owners certainly didn't ask for all this attention.

In April 2011, Richard Hazen got verbal permission from a city official to build a treehouse. After constructing the two-story wonder, he and his wife, Lynn Tran, recently got a city notice saying it violates building codes and needs to be torn down.

Tran said, "This is our private land, and we're not intruding on anyone's private property."

As a solution to the problem, the couple has written a proposed ordinance which they'll bring up to city commissioners.

If approved, it would allow the treehouse to legally remain on the property.

Tran said, "In return we will not hold the city liable for any injury or damages from us using the treehouse."

The ordinance also says the treehouse would be for private use only.

The city code says the couple must collect more than 300 signatures from registered voters in the city.

Then, the commission can decide to approve, or reject it. If a decision is not made in a certain timeframe, it could then be sent for a citywide vote.

"This is the least costly avenue for both the city and us. If we get enough registered voters to vote, it will help us avoid litigation costs," said Tran.

Last week, Tran sent a letter to Holmes Beach commissioners and residents to lay out the details of the proposed ordinance.

In the letter she wrote, ‘It is not about blaming and debating over a long list of allegations in court or code board hearing. It is about finding a win-win solutions and a happy ending for all.'

"[The treehouse] is safe for us, there's no reason why we have to go through all of that-pointing fingers," said Tran.

On Tuesday night, Lynn Tran will go to a city commission meeting to get some final paperwork and start collecting signatures on that formal petition.

It can only be signed by registered voters in the city.

In the meantime, the city's code enforcement board will meet on June 20th to decide whether to charge fines that could reach up to $500 dollars a day.

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