Some people fondly remember playing in a backyard treehouse from their childhoods. For some, it's a freeing feeling to find yourself nestled within the branches of a tree, looking down onto the ground below. However, many people outgrow the desire for treehouses once they become adults.
However, that is not the case for one Florida grandmother named Shawnee Chasser who has been living in an outdoor property that includes a treehouse for the past 17 years.
Florida code enforcement is covered by Chapter 162 of the Florida Statutes and that will come into play for this story.
This article will look at the trajectory of Chasser's journey in the treehouse from why she moved in it in the first place to what she's going to do now.
Why Shawnee Chasser Began Living in a Tree House in South Florida: Unfortunately, the story of Chasser ending up in her treehouse is a sad one that began with the death of her young son at only 32 from a heart attack.
Chasser originally purchased the property for her son but moved into the treehouse after his death. According to The Miami Herald, the property has a fountain/pool, two simple bedrooms, a kitchen, hammocks, portable toilets, and two campers.
According to information from a GoFundMe set up on Chasser's behalf, she is also trying to raise her grandchildren.
Unfortunately, one of Chasser's neighbors in Biscayne Gardens called code enforcement in 2015. As a result, Chasser began to accumulate fines, and they now total around $40,000.
Chasser told 7 News Miami in September of 2023 that she is the type of person who needs to be outdoors, explaining in part:
“I’ve always lived outdoors. For me, it’s the only way to live. I have to hear the rain and the wind at night. If I don’t, I go crazy, and I’m claustrophobic.”
Chasser Says She Is Done Fighting, But She Also Won't Live Inside: After battling with code enforcement for the past several years, Chasser told 7 News Miami that she is done dealing with code enforcement, saying, in part:
“I’m not a fighter, you know?... I’m done fighting, and I just want peace.”
However, despite saying she won't continue to fight, Chasser also does not want to concede having to live indoors.
According to the aforementioned GoFundMe, Chasser intends to demolish the tree house and rebuild an outdoor structure that is code-compliant. The language in the GoFundMe explains in part:
"Shawnee has always lived outside of the box, literally and figuratively. She cannot live indoors and needs to live close to the earth and in alignment with her beliefs. A person should not be punished for this way of living, it should be celebrated. Her lifestyle is also very low impact and simple, which aids in the abundance of resources for others to simply live."
Below is a YouTube video by CBS Miami so that you can see the property in question.