Holmes Beach tree house owners to face fines - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

Holmes Beach tree house owners to face fines

Posted: Updated:
The Holmes Beach Code Enforcement Board The Holmes Beach Code Enforcement Board
HOLMES BEACH, FL (WFLA) -

The Holmes Beach Code Enforcement Board has decided to fine the owners of a tree house $100 a day.

Richard Hazen and his wife Lynn Tran built a two story tree house on their beachside property after getting verbal permission from a city building official.

But city officials later told the couple their tree house violated building codes and should be either moved, demolished, or subject to fines.

The two-story tree house has captured international attention, and local scrutiny.

Two years ago, the owners built the structure after getting verbal permission from a city official.

But since then, the city's code enforcement board ruled the tree house violated numerous building codes. Officials say it's too close to the water and was built on an Australian pine, which is not considered to be a strong tree.

So on Thursday, the code enforcement board held a penalty hearing.

City Attorney Jim Dye said, "If you decide to impose a fine, it's the best way to get the property's owner's attention to say we take these things seriously."

The couple's attorney had previously filed an appeal in circuit court, but the board decided to move on anyway. So on Thursday the board ruled to fine the couple $100 dollars a day.

Tree house owner Lynn Tran said to the board, "Fining us and taking us to court is not helping. The goal of the government is to help us, people like us. We rely on your instructions."

The couple feels the city is forcing them to tear the tree house down, since it is impossible to relocate it and bring it into compliance.

They want to see if there's some way they can come to terms with the board to make it safer and leave it where it is.

"It's too late to go back!" said Tran. "We understand code, we want to follow code, we never violated any code. We were misled into the wrong direction. We want to fix this, show us how!"

The tree house owners were very emotional after the announcement was made, but they're not going to give up the fight just yet.

Their attorney is filing a motion in circuit court to stop the city from issuing fines.

The decision isn't expected to come down for another few weeks.

And until that decision is made, the owners do not plan to pay a penny.

Tran said, "If it gets to be too heavy of a fine and we lose in court then that will be a sad day for us."

The couple has already spent around $90,000 in construction costs and legal fees, and they don't know how much longer they can go.

 

Stay connected with the news of the day. Download the WFLA news app today. It's FREE http://bit.ly/1799uzp

RELATED STORIES:

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Florida Hospital North Pinellas: Not responsible for 96-year-old patient's missing dentures

    Florida Hospital North Pinellas: Not responsible for 96-year-old patient's missing dentures

    Thursday, July 24 2014 4:56 PM EDT2014-07-24 20:56:22 GMT
    Ella Mae Hess, age 96, wasn't thinking about her dentures when an ambulance rushedher to Florida Hospital North Pinellas last April after she took a bad fall at the Coral Oaks senior living facility in Palm Harbor.
    Ella Mae Hess, age 96, wasn't thinking about her dentures when an ambulance rushedher to Florida Hospital North Pinellas last April after she took a bad fall at the Coral Oaks senior living facility in Palm Harbor.
  • Glitch crashes global US passport, visa operations

    Glitch crashes global US passport, visa operations

    Thursday, July 24 2014 12:34 PM EDT2014-07-24 16:34:46 GMT
    The State Department's global database for issuing travel documents has crashed, resulting in major delays for potentially millions of people around the world waiting for U.S. passports and visas, officials said Wednesday.
    The State Department's global database for issuing travel documents has crashed, resulting in major delays for potentially millions of people around the world waiting for U.S. passports and visas, officials said Wednesday.
  • Apple users get strange emails with old dates

    Apple users get strange emails with old dates

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:53 AM EDT2014-07-24 10:53:01 GMT
    If you got an email dated in the 60s, you would probably assume it's a scam.
    If you got an email dated in the 60s, you would probably assume it's a scam.
  • NewsMore>>

  • One struck by lightning in Clearwater

    One struck by lightning in Clearwater

    Friday, July 25 2014 12:48 AM EDT2014-07-25 04:48:51 GMT
    One person has been struck by lightning at Sand Key Park in Clearwater.
    One person has been struck by lightning at Sand Key Park in Clearwater.
  • New jobs on tap for Pinellas as loss looms

    New jobs on tap for Pinellas as loss looms

    Thursday, July 24 2014 7:09 PM EDT2014-07-24 23:09:34 GMT
    File Photo: Gov. Rick ScottFile Photo: Gov. Rick Scott
    Gov. Rick Scott is expected to take part in an event marking the expansion at GE Energy Management in Clearwater.The expansion will create about 250 jobs, according to a news release from the governor's office.Gov. Scott often attends events connected to job creation, an issue he has made central to his administration and his re-election campaign.
    Gov. Rick Scott is expected to take part in an event marking the expansion at GE Energy Management in Clearwater.The expansion will create about 250 jobs, according to a news release from the governor's office.Gov. Scott often attends events connected to job creation, an issue he has made central to his administration and his re-election campaign.
  • Trial for man accused of throwing, killing baby continues

    Trial for man accused of throwing, killing baby continues

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:02 PM EDT2014-07-24 22:02:31 GMT
    Richard McTear in court Thursday (Pool photo)Richard McTear in court Thursday (Pool photo)
    A Hillsborough County deputy testified about pictures he took of Jasmine Bedwell, following an argument between her and her former boyfriend Richard McTear, after her baby was missing.
    A Hillsborough County deputy testified about pictures he took of Jasmine Bedwell, following an argument between her and her former boyfriend Richard McTear, after her baby was missing.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 'Faces of Meth' program launched by Sheriff's office

    'Faces of Meth' program launched by Sheriff's office

    Monday, July 21 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-07-21 22:37:35 GMT
    'Faces of Meth' is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
    'Faces of Meth' is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Woman impales herself on cemetery fence; says she was running from attacker

    Woman impales herself on cemetery fence; says she was running from attacker

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 2:53 PM EDT2014-07-23 18:53:18 GMT
    A woman claims she was running from an attacker and tried to jump a five foot fence when she became impaled. Firefighters had to use power saws and a grinding saw to cut her free, all while she was conscious. After 30 minutes she was transported to an area hospital for surgery to remove the spike sticking out of her thigh. It happened at Vine Cemetery in Hazleton. She said the nearest gate was locked. Witnesses backed...
    A woman claims she was running from an attacker and tried to jump a five foot fence when she became impaled. Firefighters had to use power saws and a grinding saw to cut her free, all while she was conscious. After 30 minutes she was transported to an area hospital for surgery to remove the spike sticking out of her thigh. It happened at Vine Cemetery in Hazleton. She said the nearest gate was locked. Witnesses backed...
  • VIDEO: Intense gator battle at Odessa golf course

    VIDEO: Intense gator battle at Odessa golf course

    Thursday, July 24 2014 1:47 PM EDT2014-07-24 17:47:49 GMT
    An amazing video of two big gators locked in an intense fight might have you wondering how something so dangerous could happen at a golf course. A golfer shot the video using a cell phone
    An amazing video of two big gators locked in an intense fight might have you wondering how something so dangerous could happen at a golf course. A golfer shot the video using a cell phone
Powered by WorldNow

1336 Augusta West Parkway
Augusta, GA 30909

Telephone: 706.722.6664
Email: talkback6@wjbf.com

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