When you think about all the cases that make it to the Supreme Court, you probably don’t expect to find one that determines the fate of a treehouse.
One woman was told she had to remove her treehouse. She not only refused but took her case to the top.
Lynn Tran and Richard Hazen spent six months building the house of their dreams in Florida. They wanted something different and big enough for a family. They also wanted something that stood out amid the other homes in their neighborhood. They decided to build a treehouse.
This isn’t your normal treehouse.
They weren’t building it for sleepovers and club meetings; they wanted to live in it. That meant they had to put a good bit of money into it. Still, they ended up with an impressive luxury treehouse with a price of just $30,000. That’s cheaper than most houses built on the ground.
The couple was happy with their home and lived in it for almost seven years, but now they could lose it. When the couple was ready to start construction, they contacted the city officials on Anna Maria Island and asked if they needed to have a permit before they began construction. They were told no.
Once the home was built, they started getting complaints.
The city then sent them a letter saying they did require an expensive permit to build on the grounds. The couple was very taken back and refused to get the permit. After all, the home was already built, and they had been told that they didn’t need a permit before they constructed the home.
They have lived in the home for almost seven years now, and every day that they live in the treehouse without a permit, they are fined $50.
That has added up to thousands of dollars over the years. Both the couple and the city refuse to budge. Lynn and Richard say that they have not done anything wrong and do not think it is fair that the city is treating them this way.
Lynn appealed their court case to the Supreme Court, hoping it will take their side and make it so they do not have to pay the ridiculous fees or the permit. This is a pretty risky move. Court fees could be even more expensive, and if the couple doesn’t win the case, they would be responsible for those fees, the cost of the permit, and the thousands they owe in fines to the city. That could leave the couple in major financial trouble.
Still, they are trying to stay positive.
They hope that the Supreme Court sees that the city is being unreasonable and that they have not done anything wrong. They just want to live in their treehouse and be left alone. If they would have been told to buy a permit before they built the home, they would have done so. Why should they be punished just because city officials changed their mind months later?
“It if doesn’t work out, we don’t even want to think about it yet. It’s hard to think about it, especially because we haven’t done anything wrong,” Lynn explained.
Hopefully, the Supreme Court will side with the couple, so they can continue to live in their dream home. It’s not every day you see a treehouse as impressive as theirs. If they were to lose it, it would be devastating. Going up against a city is a pretty serious thing, but by taking her case all the way to the top, Lynn is proving that she isn’t going to back down.
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