HOLMES BEACH (FOX 13) - A beachside treehouse has been one couple's source of peace and solitude for years. It's also been the source of much controversy. A year after being ordered to take it down, the couple faces hefty fines and a decision.
Lynn Tran said her treehouse on Holmes Beach has been her happy place. It's also been a major headache.
"It is basically just used for exercise, mediation, read a book, watch the sunset," she said.
Tran said she and her husband received verbal permission from a city official in 2011 to build the structure. But the city said it never expected it to be as big as it was and it violates numerous city codes.
"It has been there for five years. It's never hurt anybody. I don't understand why we have to go through all of this," Tran said.
Last year, a judge told them to take it down, but they didn't. Now, they are being fined $50 a day until it comes down. Those fines are retroactive to July of last year, totaling more than $15,000.
"We are going to try and stay strong and go through this whole process," said Tran.
Tran and her husband said they will appeal the fines. They were waiting for a decision from the court on a petition they filed to save the treehouse. In the meantime, they will meet with city officials.
"Why didn't they take it down? But why did they put it up when they knew it wouldn't be in compliance?" asked Holmes Beach Police Chief WIlliam Tokajer.
Tokajer said he hopes the tree house will soon come down and the controversy will be over.
"It has been a long and enduring process on everyone involved, but we finally think that it's going to come to an end," he continued.
Tran, however, said she will not be at peace until she knows her treehouse will remain standing.
"I am not going to think of bringing it down until we exhaust every avenue. We have a lot of avenues going still," she added.