HOLMES BEACH, Fla.-- A Florida couple will have to take down their beachfront treehouse after the Supreme Court declined to get involved in a dispute over it.
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to take the case brought by Lynn Tran and Richard Hazen, who live on Anna Maria Island on Florida's west coast. The couple built a two-story treehouse on their Holmes Beach property in 2011 after being told they didn't need a permit.
Tran said she had prepared herself for the likely outcome, but the news still stung.
"After all that it's just," Tran said, pausing. "It's exhausting."
The saga has been well documented in local and national media ever since it began.
The treehouse has become a popular destination for visitors looking to snap a picture or two, while it's turned into a landmark for others.
Tran had hoped the justices would see the bigger picture regarding the case, that it wasn't just about their treehouse.
"Yes, it's a little, old treehouse, it's really not big enough, like some people say, to deserve higher attention," Tran told 10News. "But it's about our rights to enjoy our property and other's rights to enjoy their property without being hassled."
But after an anonymous complaint to the city about the structure, officials investigated and found the couple did need to go through the permitting process. It turns out the treehouse was located in an area where building is prohibited because of a city setback.
The couple tried to take the fight to voters but courts stopped them.
"We're not against having rules and laws," Tran said. "But the whole thing is government is there to protect us from harm, this thing does nobody any harm."
Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson declined to comment to 10News. City leaders are still deciding how to proceed.
It's estimated the city has racked up more than $100,000 in legal fees. The attorney for Holmes Beach told 10News Tran and Hazen have owed the city $50 per day, everyday, since July 2015 for the permit violations, amounting to more than $45,000.
Tran remains hopeful an agreement can be reached with the city to keep their treehouse standing.
"I'm just hoping that they can make it right," she said.
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