Pay attention! This is not just about our treehouse. The issues that we present to the courts are also of concern to many citizens, property owners and businesses. An American dream, our Robinson Crusoe like beach treehouse is still at risk of demolition.
The District Court denied our appeal, thus upheld the Circuit Court’s ruling, sending us back to the City. However the court’s decision is not final. We have filed a motion for rehearing, seeking ground for review by the Florida Supreme Court. The DCA can change its prior ruling, issue an opinion or reject our request. In its response to our filing, as expected, the City have asked the court to deny our request.
The issues that we asked the courts to reconsider are:
1. Did the Court imply that City codes can preempt State laws and local government can override and prevent Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) authority?
City codes prohibit the use of 50 feet of privately owned beachfront land for any construction other than seawalls, dune walkovers and similar structures solely for the protection of existing buildings, while State laws allow for construction of many other types of structures within this 50 feet for enjoyment and other purposes. Our beach treehouse is within this 50 feet prohibition by the City. This means the loss of use of 50 feet of land for many beachfront property owners.
If you have a standard 100 feet deep beachfront lot, you might not be able to build much of anything when taking into account side setback, front setback, and the loss due to beach nourishment program if the property crosses the erosion control line. In our opinion, the 50 feet prohibition serves no purpose other than an insidious taking of private property rights via local zoning, restrictions and prohibition that the City claims they have the right to do.
Who told you that in the United States, your property are protected and safe from government? Who said ALL shall be treated equally?
In addition, per state law, some structures could be exempted from permitting requirements. But even if the state agency would issue a letter of exemption or state permit for our tree hut or treehouse, they can’t do it or it is no good. Why? Because the city objects and insists that their local codes prevail.