HOLMES BEACH -- The Second District Court of Appeal declined to hear the case of two Holmes Beach homeowners embroiled in a fight with the city to keep their treehouse.
The ruling was made June 12 in a case dating back several years. The decision upheld Manatee Circuit Judge Janette Dunnigan's ruling last September in favor of Holmes Beach against couple Richard Hazen and Lynn Tran, who own a treehouse in an Australian pine at Angelinos Sea Lodge, 103 29th St.
In her Sept. 16 opinion, Dunnigan sided with the city, saying it's true some structures allowed under Florida statutory law would be prohibited under the city code, however, the couple's tree house is prohibited under both laws because it does not count as a "shore protection structure, minor structure or pier."
The city Code Enforcement Board found the couple in violation July 30, 2013, of multiple sections of Holmes Beach's land development code, according to Bradenton Herald archives. The board also said the couple failed to fulfill building permit requirements.
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The couple's Sarasota attorney, David Levin, said in a written statement it's unknown why the appellate court denied the Hazen's challenge of the circuit court's decision.
"Without writing an opinion explaining the basis for its action, it would be mere speculation as to how the Court of Appeal viewed our case," the attorney wrote.
In 2011, Hazen approached the Holmes Beach Building and Zoning Department
with the idea of building a treehouse after speaking to his wife about it and, according to a document, was informed by then-Building Inspector Robert Shaffer the city had no regulations involving construction of a treehouse. In May 2011, Hazen began construction on the house.
"We were pleased to hear the ruling," Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson said Wednesday. "I'm glad we're getting to the end of the process."
According to Levin, the couple will file a motion for rehearing.