Two days after we submitted our case to the mayor and commissioners for review, they met with the building official and as expected, he insisted that the tree house has to come down. His reasons: the tree & thus the tree house violates the 50 feet setback from the erosion control line and does not meet all building codes. He claimed that it is for public use. He also stated that we can forget about asking for any variance or exemption, that it is all our fault, so we alone will have to suffer. However, he also stated that the tree house is an accessory structure.
The previous city building officials approved it as “no permit required”. Our attorney found that according to both the city land development code and the Florida statutes, our tree structure qualifies as an “exempt” minor activity and accessory structure. The coastal engineering report supports that the structure is an “exempt” activity. Exempt to us means that many of the rules designed for the big primary houses do not apply to our tree deck. The state agency told us to remove or relocate it at first and after a year of evaluation allowed us to move forward with an after the fact permit, waiving certain criteria as it is after the fact.
We are not student of the laws nor building experts. All we know is that we were given permission and act in good faith. We followed due process and advice of the experts. You can’t live in the tree house. It is for private enjoyment and on the resident side of our property. So as the news asked: Who is right? We asked: what is right? what is fair? If this is yours, do you have the heart to destroy it? As one supporter wrote:
Links to public news and correspondence: