Judge orders HB to stay tree house fine

The owners of a controversial tree house in Holmes Beach received some relief as they continue their legal feud with the city.

Circuit court Judge Janette Dunnigan issued an opinion March 17 ordering the city of Holmes Beach to stop accruing fines for tree house owners Richard Hazen and Lynn Tran while the appeal process is ongoing.

Hazen and Tran were accessed a $100 a day fine Sept. 13, 2013, by the Holmes Beach Code Enforcement Board. The city levied the fine until such time the tree house comes into compliance with the city and state regulations.

Hazen and Tran have been tangled in the dispute with the city since the first letter of violation was sent to the couple April 5, 2013.

In July 2013, the Holmes Beach Code Enforcement Board filed a final administrative order, finding the owners of Angelinos Sea Lodge, 103 29th St., in violation of building code requirements.

The city found the tree house — construction began in April 2011 — to be in violation of several city and state codes and to have been built without a permit. The state violation includes the structure being built within the setback for the erosion control line.

Dunnigan’s order in the appeal to stop the daily fine is the only progress thus far, responding to Hazen and Tran’s petition for writ of certiorari, or motion for review of stay order, filed in October 2013 by their attorney, David Levin of Sarasota.

The city of Holmes Beach is represented by city attorney Patricia Petruff and Jim Dye of Dye, Dietrich, Petruff & St. Paul, P.L., of Bradenton.

The couple initially filed with the city board to have the fines halted during the appeal of the final order, which was denied. The petitioners appealed the board’s fine decision to the 12th Judicial Circuit Court, where it was overturned by Dunnigan.

Still pending are cases filed by the city seeking to declare the couple’s petition null and void and seeking declaratory judgment.

The couple’s appeal of the code enforcement board’s ruling and an appeal of the city’s final administrative order to remove the structure or rectify its non-compliant status also are pending action.

One thought on “Judge orders HB to stay tree house fine

  1. Betty and Ingo Fischer (from England)

    What a waste of time and money! This lovely tree house, which is a great attraction and a benefit to the wonderful Anna Maria Island, should be allowed to stay. It does no harm at all where it is. Why not make it a form of Charity – all money proceeds to benefit AMI? Come on you members of the City Committee, show some compassion and most of all some foresight. Swallow your pride for the sake of the Island. You are making yourselves to be very petty. We will be making our usual 3 month visit to our beloved AMI in September andwe look forward to seeing the tree house on our first walk along your lovely Bea h

    Betty and Ingo


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