Brickbat: Treetop Hideaway


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For the past 25 years, Shawnee Chasser has lived in a treehouse in Florida. Now, the Miami-Dade County code enforcement office says it has to come down. Officials say it doesn't meet local building codes, which are strict because of the possibility of hurricanes, and it doesn't have electricity and running water, which are required. They've already imposed $3,000 in fines on Chasser and given her three months to tear the treehouse down.

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  1. There is no curse in Elvish, Entish or the tongues of men for this treachery.

    *Squishes Miami-Dade Orc Enforcement office*

  2. You know who else wanted to audit the FED…and believed in secret societies……..and was a favorite candidate of Reason mammals?…

    1. And you know who else attempted to post before coffee?…


    2. Is this a multiple choice question? If so I will pick B.

  3. Morning all, it’s been there 25 years and survived untold storms? I guess they’ll have to move into a nice safe mobile home just in time for hurricane season. I wonder if someone dropped a dime on them?

    1. The article says someone called 311. She thinks it was a tenant she kicked out.

      1. Thank you for reading so I didn’t have too. I’m only on my first cup of the morning.

  4. Hippies still exist among us. You must do everything in your power to weed them out and crush their hippy ways.

    1. +1 Cartman

  5. Code enforcement down here is rough. I wanted to enclose the screened in patio on my 50 year old house and they said I had to bring it up to code. In order to do that I have to tear down the 500 square foot patio and rebuild it 1 foot wide. Yup, it doesn’t meet the code for the proper setback from the water. So even though it has been there for over a half century and through dozens of hurricanes, if I want to put windows on it instead of screens, I have to tear it down.

    They also have serious restrictions on outside structures like sheds and utility buildings. So I’m not the least bit surprised that they are making her take it down.

    The really funny bit is going to be when she finally takes it down and accidentally kills the tree. Most places down here you have to get permission to remove a tree. Even if you accidentally kill a tree, they’ll make you replace it with a similar one. So if you have a 60 foot tall banyan tree, you gotta go get another one like it. Or maybe they’ll make you buy something more exotic. In any event, tens of thousands of dollars are going to be spent.

    I have a neighbor who did a teardown and built a huge house. He put two big palm trees in the front, and two big shade trees in the back. The city decided that there were already too many palms in the front on that street, so they made him hire a crane and switch them out. It cost about ten grand. And he didn’t get the shade he wanted out back by the pool. So thanks, I guess.

    1. Holy Northern Pike.

      What the fuck?

      They’re waaaayyyy too implicated in the lives of people. Reminds me of the little town my business is in. They ball bust just to bust balls.

      Anyway. I got a taste of Florida on the investment side for a business. It was all so very ‘yikes!’

    2. I live in the middle of nowhere. I do whatever the fuck I want to do.

    3. *Something about forgiveness and permission*

      1. Works great. Everyone down here does it that way. You are supposed to pull permits for just about everything. Most people do things off permit.

        The problem comes when you go to sell. The sale won’t clear because the house won’t pass inspection. There will be permits to clear up.

        So you get a bizarre unintended consequence. People do things in a way to allow them to be undone. Lots of people want to enclose a garage to get an extra room. But doing it with permits might cost 50% more… maybe 300% more. Or it might not get done at all. So you find lots of garages with rooms inside them. They leave the garage door in place with a little 2 or 3 foot storage area, and put a room or two behind that. By not bringing the floor up to grade you save a ton of cash. And walls can be torn out pretty easily.

        People enclose their porch (Florida room off permit all the time. For the right price and with the right representation you might be able to get it permitted when you go to sell.

        I ran into that with my current house. They had some work done on the air conditioning and the electrical off permit. We had to get it cleared up before the bank would approve the loan. Mostly that meant giving the city some cash and filing some paper work. They love to get their cut.

        When I asked about adding a second story to my house back at the peak of the bubble the inspector told me there would be an “impact fee”. About $45k is what they wanted. No reason other than greed.

    4. Cyto, where the hell do you live? Must be south Florida.

      LIfe in the panhandle is very different.

  6. South Florida has strict rules about building code due to the frequency of hurricanes

    , and its structures are world-famous for being totally indestructible in those fierce storms.

    1. Hermine being the first landfall hurricane in 11 years, so those strict building codes are clearly working…just keep banging those sticks together to keep the tigers away

      1. The part of the code aimed at wind and flood damage is needed. The sort of stick-built homes you have in the middle of the country or in the northeast would never survive a major hurricane. A lot of the stuff down in Homestead wasn’t up to snuff and got obliterated by Andrew. Nobody is going to make that mistake again.

        My place is tiny and it is old. But it’ll take more than just a hurricane to take it out. It is almost a bomb shelter. A 30 foot storm surge would probably do it though – at least it would gut the place. I’m only 11 feet above the water and a mile inland.

        But there is so much other crap in the code. You have to have an electrical outlet every so many feet. It is pretty close too…. like 6 or 8 feet. I wonder if the IBEW had anything to do with that? And they really worry about air conditioning vent placement and numbers. Think there is some lobbying behind that one? The permit to do a skim coat of asphalt on my driveway was $300, and only a contractor licensed to do asphalt in the county can pull the permit. The job itself only costs about $300. Nice. So most folks are switching over to brick or concrete pavers. I wonder if there is a lobbyist behind that one.

        1. “The part of the code aimed at wind and flood damage is needed.”

          “Nobody is going to make that mistake again.”

          The way I read it, the second sentence negates the first.

        2. The ‘outlet every three feet’ thing must be national. We demolished our Florida room and replaced it with a two-story extension. Both new rooms have what seem like dozens of outlets. But since one’s an office and the other the home theater room it’s OK.

          We also had a fat extension cord running from one room to another during the renovation. When the City electrical inspector came to do the final inspection, he tagged it. I laughed as I uninstalled it.

        3. hot gas…regulation expands to fill the available volume

  7. My city got a redevelopment agency approved by the state and the next day they sent every code inspector they had into a working class neighborhood issuing citations. That neighborhood just happened to have water access on three sides, including a beach and a large boat harbor. The city harassed the owners so much that they sold out and the city was able to bulldoze a dozen blocks of houses and apartments and replace it with new much more expensive housing working with the big local developers.

    It was one of those evil private/public partnerships which are nothing but crony deals.

    1. The shut down the fire department in mine under the guise of saving money – which is retarded in of itself – by outsourcing it to the next town. We later found out the city had already ‘sold’ the property to a developer. Their plan is to build more housing. In fact, this province as a whole is nothing but about putting up condos and little else.

      So yes. Cronies all around.

      1. province?…Canadian perhaps?…narrows gaze across the St. Lawrence

        1. You must be new around here.

          I’m the Canadian Pope of Greenwich Village around here.

          1. what’s nu? c/lambda

        2. was going to widen my stance and then remembered how that usually turns out…

    2. A perfect example of the evils of capitalism.

  8. I have lived in Mexico since 1988 because of these “codes”. I was building an underground dome in rural PA, and after months of bureaucracy, they said I had to wait 5 years more. I sold my home, the project, my business, and moved to Mexico in the mountains, where I have built WHATEVER I want, mostly without permits of any kind.

    1. I didn’t know Carlos Castaneda was a libertarian.

  9. Let me get this straight. This person has lived in this tree house for 25 years. 2016-25=1991 According to https:// (please manually remove the space between the https:// and the en.wikipedia) There have been 8 different hurricanes since 1991. Specifically Hurricane Andrew in August 1992 was a cat 5 and Hurricane Charley in August 2004 was a cat 4.

    Without trying to say that building codes are bad–cause they do have benefits–maybe you should ask how this treehouse survived the 8 different hurricanes since 1991. I know it is hard to believe, but maybe this person with her tree house has figured out something that you have not? But I know, you are right, it is the height of arrogance to think that someone who lives in a tree house for 25 years could teach a Structural Engineer with a Ph.D anything about building design.

    1. actually hurricanes are natures way of saying “you don’t know shit about how to build a building in this environment” and usually self correct shitty design & construction

  10. If only there were constitutional protections for property – – – – –
    “The Fourth Amendment (1791) protects people against unreasonable searches and seizures of either self or property by government officials. A search can mean everything from a frisking by a police officer or to a demand for a blood test to a search of an individual’s home or car. A seizure occurs when the government takes control of an individual or something in his or her possession.”
    the tree house has been there for 25 years. It has not fallen down. It is safe enough.
    I mean, it’s not like she was at an airport or federal building or any other constitution-free zone. She is where she thought home was. Oh, well, add one more to the number of homeless.

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