A court has ruled that a veteran does not have the right to live off the grid on his own land.
Marine veteran Tyler Truitt has 14 days to move his home or face legal action from the city of Huntsville, Alabama.
“Maybe they’ll raid our house and shoot our dogs, and us, too,” Truitt told TV station WTVM.
Truitt, his dogs and his girlfriend live in a trailer on a wooded lot in the city. Huntsville officials want them out because they use solar panels for electricity, are not connected to the sewer system, use composting toilets, and use rain barrels for water — and they don’t have the proper permits.
Last week’s appellate court ruling upheld a lower judge’s ruling that ordered the couple to move the trailer. Both courts found Truitt guilty of violating the city’s codes and ordinances. The ruling upheld a lower judge’s ruling from last year.
The city is alleging that Truitt and Hamar are violating a zoning ordinance that restricts living in trailers to areas designated trailer parkers, WTVM reported. It also alleges he is living off the grid, without the proper permits.
“There is nothing illegal about living ‘off the grid,’ provided interested citizens go through proper channels,” a letter from Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle stated. “We encourage green environmental living, and our departments stand ready and willing to guide citizens through the appropriate permitting process. We have several residents in the City utilizing solar power and some are actually putting power back on the grid.”
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Battle added, “Contrary to some of the public comments via email and online, the source of Mr. Truitt’s electricity (solar panels) is not an issue. No resident is required to buy electricity from Huntsville Utilities.
“Every property owner, however, is required to meet the building codes that are enforced across the city,” Battle said. “The systems Mr. Truitt has attempted to put in do not meet these codes and his sanitary situation violates state health code. Mr. Truitt also did not apply for any building permits as required by law.”
The city considers the home “unsafe.”
Truitt, though, believes his rights are being violated. He also says his home is safe and sanitary.
“They won’t even give us the permits because they say our house is a manufactured home,” Truitt told WTVM.
Truitt and Hamar do not know when they will need to move. The two are planning to file a lawsuit against the city over the ordinances.
“We’ve yet to have any of those arguments be heard in court, so that’s what we’re trying to do with the civil suit, to fight directly against the city’s ordinances and the way they’re enforcing them,” Truitt said.
He told the TV station he is not afraid of the city.
“How much is this fight worth to them? I know what it means to me. It’s my home, it’s everything and I’m not moving the house,” Truitt said.
Truitt has set up a Go Fund Me page to finance his fight.
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