Holmes Beach couple fighting city to keep tree house
10:19 PM, May 13, 2013
3:50 PM, May 14, 2013
HOLMES BEACH, Fla. - A Holmes Beach couple is fighting with city officials to save their giant tree house. The tree house located at Angelino's Sea Lodge is becoming quite the attraction.
"I think that it's up, it's beautiful, it's unique. It's an attraction to Holmes Beach." Ellen Valli described the tree house while soaking up some rays on the beach.
The eye-popping attraction is the dream of Lynn Tran and husband Richard Hazen. They started constructing on the unique tree house in May of 2011 and completed it within six months. "It's got our heart and soul into it," is what Richard told us.
Soon after completing the tree house, the town of Holmes Beach contacted Lynn and her husband and told them they were in violation of building codes. They also told them if they did not remove the tree house, they would be fined $500 a day. "We love it so much, it's very difficult for us to take it down. We have invested not only money, but emotions," Lynn said.
A report from the City of Holmes Beach states: "This is a three story assemble structure accessory to a public accommodation. As such, it is required to be in full compliance with the Holmes Beach Land Development Code and all provisions of the Florida Building Code."
Lynn said the violations in the report are bogus. "There were so many things that they put on the report. Many of the citations is fairly legal so I referred that to my attorney to take a look at. We did not use salvaged materials and they cited we used salvaged materials. We did not put the structure on the tree trunk and they cited that the structure is on the tree trunks. We don't have a three-story home, this is two decks," she said.
Richard says he got permission to build the tree house from a city building official who told them they didn't need any permits for build the tree house. In that same report mentioned earlier, officials stated: "To be frankly blunt, if you did not receive a written response to a detailed submittal, then no approval can be inferred from a casual conversation."
Now all the couple can do is continue to fight to save their dream tree house, and hope that community support will help convince Holmes Beach officials to let them keep the tree house. "We love this tree house. We don't want to lose it," Richard said.
The couple has set up a website to keep people updated on what's happening. You can also go there to sign an online petition. The website is