Miami-Dade County tells woman to move out of treehouse

NORTH MIAMI, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami-Dade County has told a woman who has lived in a treehouse for 10 years to find a new home.

Behind a wall of trees in North Miami, Shawnee Chasser has lived in a treehouse for the past 10 years. She said she needs the open-air housing because she suffers from claustrophobia, but Miami-Dade County told her it isn’t safe. They’ve given her until the end of the year to find a new home.

Chasser’s son, Joshua, built much of the treehouse before dying from a heart attack in 2009 at the age of 32. She said she has all she needs at the corner of “Be Here Now Street” and “Joshua’s Way,” including a raccoon she calls “George Clooney.”

“I have everything I need,” Chasser said. “It has become my paradise for him. My reason to live and go on after he died was for him.”

Chasser said he has spent the last year, and thousands of dollars, fighting the decision to tear down the structure. But she has run out of money. Demolition day is four months away.

“I’ve cried a lot because it seems so ridiculous to me,” she said.

The county said the structure is not safe. In a statement, county officials said, “Miami-Dade County’s priority is the safety of all its residents and visitors. These structures were found to be unsafe. It’s an unfortunate situation that must be corrected for the safety of the residents and neighbors.”

Unless she can bring the structure up to code, her paradise is in peril. Still, Chasser won’t go down without a fight.

“Prepared to sit on the roof and let them tear it down with me on it,” she said. “This is my home and my paradise and my love.”

Chasser said her next step is sending letters to county commissioners.

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