Florida

These Florida adults can no longer play in their tree house

Hazen and Lynn Tran own the treehouse in an Australian pine at Angelinos Sea Lodge, 103 29th St. In 2013, the city found them in violation of multiple sections of Holmes Beach’s land development code.
Hazen and Lynn Tran own the treehouse in an Australian pine at Angelinos Sea Lodge, 103 29th St. In 2013, the city found them in violation of multiple sections of Holmes Beach’s land development code. Bay News 9

After a years-long legal dispute, a tree house on Anna Maria Island will have to come down.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an ongoing dispute over whether the owners of the Holmes Beach tree house, Lynn Tran and Richard Hazen, would have to tear down the two-story home they built in 2011 after saying they were told they did not need a permit.

Their request for the nation’s highest court to hear their case was one of several denied Monday by justices.

The $25,000 home has been nestled in an Australian pine at 103 29th St. for the last several years. In 2013, controversy surrounded the home when Holmes Beach code enforcement officers found the owners in violation of multiple sections of code and determined that Hazen and Tran failed to fulfill building permits requirements.

For the city of Holmes Beach, the Supreme Court’s decision means working toward the end of the dispute.

“We’re looking for the closure, we’ll be working with the owners to finalize this situation,” Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson said.

But for the couple, it means their treasured tree house must come down.

The couple’s lawyer, David Levin, told the Associated Press that his clients’ rights were violated when a Florida court “rubber stamped” a ruling proposed by the city of Holmes Beach without any evidence of independent consideration.

A call to Levin for further comment for the Bradenton Herald was not immediately returned.

Hazen and Tran are accumulating a $50 a day fine each day the tree house remains standing, according to the AP.

There is a permitting process the couple must go through in order to tear down the home. Johnson said he is not sure how long that process will take, but he does not expect it to take years.

“It’s just a matter of doing it,” Johnson said.

The Second District Court of Appeal declined to hear the case in June 2015. The decision upheld Manatee Circuit Judge Janette Dunnigan’s ruling the previous September in favor of Holmes Beach.

Judge Don T. Hall issued a final order in August 2016 in which he rejected a proposal to let voters decide if the house could stay on the property.

The Supreme Court justices had their first opportunity to consider taking the case at a closed-door conference Friday, according to the Associated Press.

Sara Nealeigh: 941-745-7081, @saranealeigh

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