Woman fights to keep her treehouse abode after building inspectors cite code violations
A 65-year-old grandmother who once protested the Vietnam War is waging a fight over a new issue: Inspectors who say the treehouse she lives in must be brought up to code or torn down.
The inspectors say Shawnee Chasser’s treehouse near downtown Miami is a safety hazard, the Associated Press reports. The construction is substandard, they say, and the electricity and plumbing are not up to code. Chasser says her two-story home is a paradise.
“I’m not leaving. I haven’t slept indoors in 25 years. It’s just who I am,” Chasser told the Associated Press. “I don’t want them telling me what my happiness is because I don’t fit in one of their boxes.”
Chasser’s two-story home includes a refrigerator, stove, television and running water. It sits on the property once owned by Chasser’s late son. A traditional home also sits on the property. Chasser did not obtain the zoning variance required for secondary structures in areas zoned for single-family homes, creating a legal problem apart from the code violations.
The Institute for Justice is taking a look at Chasser’s case. One of its lawyers, Ari Bargil, says the Miami-Dade code inspectors are being overzealous. “Shawnee’s treehouse is a peaceful, harmless structure that hurts nobody,” he told AP. “The county’s only concern should be whether her treehouse is safe. Instead, they are imposing an ill-fitting regulatory framework on her, and thus essentially fining her for being different.”