12/16/13. City cites ‘international code’ in eviction of woman ‘living off the grid’. examiner.com
A Cape Coral, FL woman who appeared on a program aired by the local FOX affiliate discussing her “off the grid” lifestyle now faces eviction by the city. According to WFTX-TV 4, Robin Speronis was featured on a program called “Living Off the Grid” in November, where she discussed living without running water or electricity.
One day after the program aired a code enforcement officer knocked on Speronis’ door and announced she was being ordered to vacate her property because it had been declared “uninhabitable,” according to the station.
“A code enforcement officer came, knocked on the door then posts a placard that says uninhabitable property, do not enter,” Robin told WFTX reporter Liza Fernandez.
According to the WFTX report, the notice cites “international property maintenance code” as grounds for declaring the property unsafe and ordering Speronis to vacate. Speronis wants to know how anyone could make that determination if they have never even entered her home, and how international code trumps her rights as an American citizen.
“Where is the justice? Why did they choose me?” she said. “Because I was exercising my First Amendment rights of free speech in discussing living off the grid.”
Although a city official told WFTX the home is uninhabitable “because it lacks running water and electricity,” the international ordinance the city cites as cause for eviction contains no language that refers to lack of either as reason to declare the home unsafe.
“Putting a woman who lives by herself, who is a widow, out on the street without any due process of law is unfathomable,” Speronis said.
A local attorney has agreed to take Speronis case without charge, and according to WFTX the city now says Speronis can remain in her home if she can prove the home is safe and she can sustain herself without running water or electricity.
This is another case of government abuse and a violation of Speronis’ constitutional rights. If Speronis chooses to live an “off the grid” lifestyle and is clearly not harming anyone, what right does the city of Cape Coral have to evict her and take her property? Could it possibly have more to do with the fact that Speronis isn’t paying for city services? In most cases like this if you want answers, all you have to do is follow the money.