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Couple Told To Tear Down $30,000 Beachfront Treehouse After Getting Permission From The City

Daily Mail / NY Post

Lynn Tran and Richard Hazen built everyone's childhood dream home: a beachfront treehouse.

They spent $30,000 constructing a two-level treehouse next to their Florida rental home that features a hammock, windows, and a lookout to the Gulf of Mexico.

However, this seemingly serene space has turned into a nightmare for the couple.

Before Tran and Hazen built their "childhood dream" in 2011, they went to ask officials at the city of Holmes Beach if they'd need a permit to build their treehouse.

"Go ahead, no permit is required, just make it safe so no one falls out," Hazen recalled what one building official  told him.

Strangely, officials did not request drawing or sketches, nor did they require the couple to complete any forms of guidelines.

"There were five officers in the room and no one asked me to complete anything," Hazen said.

Now that the treehouse has been built, officials are forcing the couple to tear it down or obtain an PDEP permit, which they are unlikely to be granted because the treehouse violates coastal zoning and structural standards codes.

Until they take it down, the couple faces $50 fine every day and are unable to allow guests who rent out their rental property access to the treehouse.

They've fought with local authorities over this issue for years, and now their last stop is the Supreme Court.

In 2013, Hazen sent a letter pleading with the FDEP, the mayor's office and city officials from Holmes Beach to stop the treehouse from being demolished:

"Stop destroying a childhood dream, work of art and creativity. Please stop the conflict, stop wasting time and resources over a harmless double deck in the tree. This is not the mega 2500 sq. ft 3-story house. It is a partially enclosed double deck, with less than 250 sq. ft. each and a stairway platform of less than 80 sq. ft... Let's live in peace and harmony on Anna Maria Island with no further disputes over a pleasant tree house."

Tran and her husband are unwilling to give up their "getaway," despite racking up thousands in legal fees.

"Part of me still believes there's got to be justice out there and we didn't do anything wrong," Tran said.

An online petition to save the treehouse had more than 1,000 signatures, and the couple said many have admired the beautiful structure.

However, not everyone has the same view. Some people don't consider the structure to be a treehouse, considering how extravagantly it was built.

Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson said that courts have sided with the city, so going to the Supreme Court is "quite honestly a waste of time."

"For some reason these people have this fixation on it," he said.

The couple is expected to receive the final word from the high court sometime this week.

Moojan has been a writer at Shared for almost a year. When she's not on the lookout for viral content, she's looking at cute animal photos. Reach her at moojan@shared.com.