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DEP grants tree hut extension

By Kathy Prucnell, Islander Reporter

New signs warn of private property and “keep off sea oats” on the shore at Angelinos Sea Lodge, 103 29th St., Holmes Beach. Islander Photo: Kathy Prucnell

Richard Hazen, owner of Angelinos Sea Lodge, 103 29th St., is running out of time to justify keeping a two-story tree hut he built without permits last year.

        The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Water Resource Management, Bureau of Beaches and Coastal Systems, advised the owner by letter Dec. 14 to voluntarily remove the wood-frame deck structure and restore all affected areas within 30 days. The DEP warning also asked Hazen to respond within 14 days.

        Dee Ann Miller of the DEP press office said an attorney for Hazen requested Dec. 27 a 30-day extension, which was granted by the DEP. She said Jan. 26, however, neither the owner nor his attorney had responded to the Dec. 14 letter.

        According to Hazen’s attorney, David M. Levin of Icard Merrill of Sarasota, Hazen retained an engineer and surveyor to assist him in determining whether the subject structure is in compliance with state law, and that the consultants’ “work product” was not yet ready.

        The DEP Dec. 14 letter contends the construction of the “elevated, post-supported, enclosed, wood-frame deck, with roof viewing deck” and “alteration of an existing dune system” is in “possible violation” of state statute.

        In addition, it indicates the construction does not appear to meet the department’s design criteria under the state administrative code, and that an after-the-fact permit would likely not be granted.

        DEP advised any activity contributing to violations of the state law regulating construction and alteration of dune areas “should be ceased immediately,” and required any native dune vegetation be restored.

        Following a complaint about the structure this fall, the city of Holmes Beach told Hazen that engineering and a survey would be required before it would consider a “letter of no objection.” Such a letter would be needed if the owner was to seek a DEP permit for construction seaward of the state coastal construction control line.

        The city’s concerns over the construction relate to stability, safety and ability to withstand hurricane-force winds, according to David Forbes, code enforcement officer.

        Hazen said he wants to keep the tree hut.

        Angelinos Lodge includes four vacation rentals and, according to the owner’s wife, Huong Lynn Tran, the tree hut was built as a private place to read, write, relax and dine.

One Response to DEP grants tree hut extension

  1. Deborah says:

    Holmes Beach, the home of my heart since 1989! How happy and amazed I was to see this tree hut along the beach this past November. With all the building of the “Easter Egg” color houses and other large, high structures, I viewed it with a sigh of happy relief. This tree hut fits in aesthetically (in a tasteful manner) among the dunes, sand, and local plants. So many people passing spoke amongst each other saying what a delight it was to the surroundings! It has always saddened me to read through the years all the infighting about so many issues. This is no detriment to any view. This is a case of people getting involved in the life of someone who created a beautiful structure on their own property. Time to grow up and address the few real issues that do cause concern there in paradise. Best wishes to Mr. Hazen!

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