27-year-old Tyler Truitt, a military veteran, is being taken to court by the City of Huntsville, Alabama, for his ‘off-the-grid’ lifestyle on his own property. Truitt and his girlfriend, Soraya Hamar, live on their two acre land within city limits and use solar panels for heat and electricity, rainwater for drinking and bathing and composting for sewage. That’s the bone of contention. Officials have warned him that if he doesn’t vacate the premises, and if he doesn’t get hooked up to city water and power, he could be arrested.
“They came and they condemned our house and told us if we stayed here we’d be arrested for trespassing on our own property, and the reason why is, they said, it was unsafe living conditions because we don’t have city utilities hooked up. I took an oath that I would support and defend the Constitution and the freedoms that entails, and I really feel like those are being trampled upon,” Truitt told WAFF-TV.
However, the City of Huntsville is suing Truitt saying that he needs to follow city ordinances or leave. “Apparently he has chosen to live an alternative lifestyle and that’s great, people can choose to live different ways but if you live in the city of Huntsville you do have to abide by our laws and ordinance. I’m sure there are other areas and properties in the country that if you wanted to choose a different lifestyle you could do so,” said Kelly Schrimsher, Communications Director for the Huntsville Mayor’s Office.
She said those laws and ordinances state that say you cannot live in a trailer that’s not in a designated trailer park. “It’s about the health and public safety of our citizens, so you must have a sanitary sewer, you must have potable running water. There are certain requirements that are there to protect our citizens through the winter,” she noted.
The city asserts Truitt’s property must be connected to the city’s treatment facility for the safety of Truitt and his neighbors. “It’s there for property protection. Adjoining property owners like protection and some homeowners might consider a trailer a nuisance,” added Jim McGuffey, Director of Planning.
The City has filed a lawsuit against Truitt and Hamar, calling their self-sufficient lifestyle ‘unsafe.’ Truitt’s next court date is set for July 29th of this year.
Truitt and Hamar intend to fight the condemnation of their property and are willing to face arrest if authorities attempt to force them off of their land. “You have to stand up for what you believe in. They could come out here today if they wanted to and take us to jail for trespassing if that’s what they want to call it and, you know, that’d be fine with me. I’ll still come back the next day and the next day and the next day because it’s my home and because I live here. Where else am I supposed to go really?” said Truitt.
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