Holmes Beach tree house owners fighting city - WFLA News Channel 8

Holmes Beach tree house owners fighting city

Posted: Updated:
MANATEE COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

The showdown between the city of Holmes Beach and the owners of a tree house continues.

A Holmes Beach couple built an elaborate two story house after getting verbal permission from a city official.

Last month, the Code Enforcement Board ruled that it violates numerous building codes and should be demolished.

But this fight could go on for quite a while.

When you stop by the pristine town of Holmes Beach, you can't help but notice a huge tree house overlooking the Gulf.

Some have compared it to ‘Swiss Family Robinson.'

It's garnered international attention.  Lynn Tran and her husband Richard Hazen built it after getting verbal permission from a city official.

But last month, after a marathon 11-hour meeting, the city code enforcement board ruled it violates numerous building codes, and must be either brought to compliance or eventually torn down.

Lynn Tran said, "We just don't want to tear it down, we can't move it like they asked us to."

Tran and her husband were given a deadline of August 28th. By that date, they had to begin the process of fixing the violations or be subject to fines.

Tran's attorney says instead they plan on filing an appeal. And the attorney says while the appeal is embroiled in the legal process, the code enforcement board cannot take any action against the owners.

The fight to save this tree house has not been easy or cheap. The couple has already spent at least $40,000 in legal fees, and that's on top of the $20,000 they spent to build the thing.

"I just saw the last [legal] bill and I just almost fell onto the floor," said Tran. "We didn't expect it to be this long. This involved, and this complicated."

So they need some cash. The owners will soon begin selling t-shirts online. They hope the funds can help with the ongoing legal fees.

The owners have also collected hundreds of signatures on a petition. It's urging the city commission to approve an ordinance allowing the tree house. Under city law, if the commission does not approve the ordinance, then it could be up for a city-wide vote.

Ultimately, Tran hopes to come to some sort of terms with the city.

She said, "If you don't meet a certain building codes, that's a different story, but to me that's not breaking the law. If you want to make things safer tell us how to make it safer."

They worked hard for their slice of paradise, and they're working hard to keep it.

We reached out to the city attorney for comment on this story, and we have yet to hear a response.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Magic diet pill promoter found running new business in Tampa

    Magic diet pill promoter found running new business in Tampa

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 5:02 PM EDT2014-09-02 21:02:23 GMT
    File Photo: Nick CongletonFile Photo: Nick Congleton
    Nick Congleton is in hot water with the FTC for selling "magic diet pills," and under investigation by Florida's Attorney General for a defunct travel club that owes hundreds of consumers for vacations they never received.Now, he's keeping a low profile and running a new business out of an unmarkedwarehouse in the Channelside District, where he didn't have much to say to Eight On Your Side this morning.
    Nick Congleton is in hot water with the FTC for selling "magic diet pills," and under investigation by Florida's Attorney General for a defunct travel club that owes hundreds of consumers for vacations they never received.Now, he's keeping a low profile and running a new business out of an unmarkedwarehouse in the Channelside District, where he didn't have much to say to Eight On Your Side this morning.
  • Home Depot probing 'Unusual Activity' after reports of data breach

    Home Depot probing 'Unusual Activity' after reports of data breach

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 1:55 PM EDT2014-09-02 17:55:41 GMT
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to suffer a massive credit card breachHome Depot may be the latest retailer to suffer a massive credit card breach
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to have suffered a massive credit card breach, the company confirmed on Tuesday, after Krebs on Security reported that a large cache of stolen data had appeared on black market sites.
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to have suffered a massive credit card breach, the company confirmed on Tuesday, after Krebs on Security reported that a large cache of stolen data had appeared on black market sites.
  • Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:45 AM EDT2014-09-02 12:45:21 GMT
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Suspect who ran over Palm Harbor security guard to turn himself in says attorney

    Suspect who ran over Palm Harbor security guard to turn himself in says attorney

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 9:59 PM EDT2014-09-03 01:59:51 GMT
    The suspect was involved in an altercation inside the establishment just before 3 am Friday.The suspect was involved in an altercation inside the establishment just before 3 am Friday.
    The man who investigators say intentionally ran over a security guard at a Palm Harbor nightclub early Friday morning will turn himself in on Wednesday according to his attorney, Barry Cohen.
    The man who investigators say intentionally ran over a security guard at a Palm Harbor nightclub early Friday morning will turn himself in on Wednesday according to his attorney, Barry Cohen.
  • Online business complaint lands Sarasota woman and BBB in lawsuit

    Online business complaint lands Sarasota woman and BBB in lawsuit

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:46 PM EDT2014-09-02 23:46:44 GMT
    Can you be sued over your online complaint about a company? That's what happened to Sarah Kessler, of Sarasota.
    Can you be sued over your online complaint about a company? That's what happened to Sarah Kessler, of Sarasota.
  • Is your data safe in Apple’s iCloud?

    Is your data safe in Apple’s iCloud?

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 6:04 PM EDT2014-09-02 22:04:56 GMT
    Hackers gained access to celebrities private pictures including nude photos of actress Jennifer Lawrence. Apple says it has fixed a security flaw but cybersecurity experts say anyone can become a victim.“Anybody can get hacked.
    Hackers gained access to celebrities private pictures including nude photos of actress Jennifer Lawrence. Apple says it has fixed a security flaw but cybersecurity experts say anyone can become a victim.“Anybody can get hacked.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.