Florida grandmother fights to keep living in treehouse – The Mercury News
var _ndnq = _ndnq || ; _ndnq.push([’embed’]);
MIAMI (AP) — For a quarter century, Shawnee Chasser has lived in a treehouse not far from downtown Miami. The 65-year-old grandmother who once protested the Vietnam War and nuclear weapons says she hates the oppressive feeling of walls and air conditioning, loves the open breeze and relishes the connection to nature in lush, tropical surroundings.
Not long ago, Miami-Dade County code inspectors discovered the treehouse, declared it unfit for human habitation and ordered it torn down. Now Chasser is fighting to keep her arboreal home, which is two stories, with a sink with running water, a stove, a refrigerator, a computer and a television. It’s also home to her dogs, cats and a pet raccoon named Mary J. Blige.
It looks more like something out of Swiss Family Robinson than a simple child’s retreat.
Chasser, who noted her protest history, said she won’t give up easily. She has attorneys and an architect working with her for free on possible solutions and is holding a November fundraiser to pay the bills.
“I’m not leaving. I haven’t slept indoors in 25 years. It’s just who I am,” Chasser said, her flowing hair streaked with purple. “I don’t want them telling me what my happiness is because I don’t fit in one of their boxes.”
County inspectors are not backing down. They found the treehouse’s construction to be substandard and with improper and possibly hazardous electricity and plumbing. The county’s Unsafe Structures Panel ordered it demolished within a few months unless it is brought up to code.
“It’s an unfortunate situation that must be corrected for the safety of the residents and neighbors,” county officials said in a statement.
Ari Bargil, a lawyer looking into Chasser’s case, said the county code has plenty of space