Woman living ‘off the grid’ faces eviction

Robin Speronis, in red, speaks to the crossed arms of the law outside her home in Florida. (Image from Fox4now.com)

Robin Speronis, in red, speaks to the crossed arms of the law outside her home in Florida. (Image from Fox4now.com)

The Declaration of Independence says Americans have certain “unalienable rights,” including “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Those words were written by a fellow that didn’t have running water or electricity in his home — Thomas Jefferson.

After Jefferson’s wells ran dry he began capturing rainwater that ran off the roof of his house, which is pretty much what a Florida woman, Robin Speronis, of Cape Coral, is doing.

The day after a local TV station ran a story about Speronis’ “off the grid” lifestyle, city code enforcement officers declared the home “unfit” for human habitation.

That probably never happened at Jefferson’s Monticello.

Cape Coral code enforcement officers somehow made this determination without venturing inside the home. There’s a good chance they just looked at the water bill for that address and realized the city monopoly had been thwarted.

Speronis’ “unfit” house looks pretty much like every other home in her neighborhood.

Like Jefferson, Speronis is self-sufficient and has no monthly bills for water or electricity. Her small house has been paid for and she’s paid all her taxes.

She cooks using propane and generates power using solar panels.

“My message was to create, so I created a happy place,” she told Fox News.

The city has received hundreds of complaints from the public about its decision to declare the home unfit. No one from the city would go on camera, says Fox 4, but an attorney who volunteered to help Speronis stay in her home said the city does not have eviction powers.

“It is the beginning of an eviction process,” said attorney Todd Allen. “A judge would then have to sign off before getting the sheriff to physically remove someone.”

“Cape Coral needs to be afraid of me. I’m not afraid of them,” said Speronis.

News from the grid:

57 comments Add your comment

joe

December 18th, 2013
10:23 am

Good for her…just goes to show you what Reagan said is still true today. “Government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem.” Even on a local level. (but the biggest problem continues to occupy the white house).

Logic 94

December 18th, 2013
10:32 am

Joe hit the nail on the head.

MoFaux

December 18th, 2013
10:37 am

@ joe and Logic: I guess you guys would refuse help from a fire fighter or policeman as well, since they are gov’t workers. Got any more trite, sweeping statements to make? What do you guys want, complete anarchy?

?

December 18th, 2013
10:43 am

She pays her taxes why should she not get fire and police service?

LydiasDad

December 18th, 2013
10:54 am

Anyone know what MoFaux is talking about now?

observor

December 18th, 2013
10:54 am

Anarchy would be much preferable to the current situation we have now. I’m confident that I would get by fine. Those that fear it are clearly the chaff.

Second of all, a large percentage of firefighters are all privately contracted and run. Virtually every forest fighting unit is privately run now, and many other cities and municipalities have out sourced their fire fighting operations to private contractors to great success.

There are already numerous private security firms that are faster and more effective than government run entities. So yes, in an ideal reality, local neighborhoods and communities would contract out their fire fighting and police functions to private companies and if those companies failed to live up to their expectations they could be easily replaced. I know this idea of competition and accountability probably horrifies someone like you, but it would be a much better situation than which we are currently burdened.

Maude

December 18th, 2013
10:56 am

Think the city is right here. How can she get enough water to support a healthy life style. You need water to bathe, clean, wash clothes, flush tolits I cannot see how the house can be anything but nasty.

CFW333

December 18th, 2013
11:09 am

This is about the fear other citizens will do the same and shaft the power and water companies!!!!! Imagine all of us using nature to heat, eat and bathe!!!anarchy. Maybe then our outrageous bills will decrease

Litt

December 18th, 2013
11:13 am

Maude,

You’re making a lot of assumptions. Maybe she does her laundry at the laundromat and takes showers at the local YWCA. She also might have a composting toilet, even if she doesn’t it only takes a couple of gallons of water to flush. Additionally if she is capturing rainwater and has several barrels that would be sufficient capacity to provide several hundred gallons of storage capacity. Plus it rains in Florida quite frequently.

Just because you are insufficiently capable of living “off grid” doesn’t mean that others aren’t. Again, the neighbors weren’t complaining. The only reason the government got involved is that she wasn’t getting her water from them.

Her attorney is right, the city can’t evict her, they could move to condemn her house, but they would have to convince a judge that mere lack of municipal water was a valid basis for the action.

Dwayne

December 18th, 2013
11:16 am

MoFaux is a mofo…short for mo!@&r f*&^%r. lol…i think you get it.

jldjslksj

December 18th, 2013
11:26 am

Back when the nation was founded, and long afterward, people didn’t live long for a lot reasons, including diseases. Plumbing, running water, and advances in science that include disease control came along. Diseases can be spread because there is no running water. Apartment complexes with slum lords that do not pay the water and the water to the complex gets shut off get condemned and torn down. It’s happened in Atlanta. Some of you are so blind by your bias that you could care less that you are encouraging the spread of disease with your bias and outright stupidity.

David Hoffman

December 18th, 2013
11:37 am

I do not feel sorry for the government officials who started an eviction process. The lady sounds like she is fully prepared with documentation to show that she is not violating any relevant state laws. I hope she is correct and that the government officials are reprimanded for doing what appears to be a rubber stamp process from the comfort of their desks. Let part of the punishment come out of their salaries to pay for her expenses in having to answer to bogus charges. The rest can come out of their agencies budgets.

Ghost

December 18th, 2013
11:38 am

I love her attitude about them being scared of her! Good for Ms. Speronis!

(the other) Rodney

December 18th, 2013
11:49 am

This lady had all the water she needs to maintain her lifestyle and household – and I applaud her. I don’t want to do it. NEVER would I do it voluntarily but if she likes it I love it.

Suebee

December 18th, 2013
11:51 am

The city came after her the day after the TV station aired her story. Had that not happened, the city probably wouldn’t even know about her to bother her. She could quietly live out her life as she had intended. Unless there is more back story that are not reported. Media tends to be one sided.

abbysenia

December 18th, 2013
11:55 am

Curious… I don’t know WHY she would want to do this. But I would like to see the city explain/demonstrate why this makes the house unfit for habitation. I am thinking that in some cases the lack of circulating air/water may cause deteriation of the structure… if that’s the case I can understand. However, in the grand scheme of things this is the 21st century not the 18th century. We don’t live subsistent lives any longer. Infrastructure if for the society as a whole…regardless of you using it or now. Utilities are not only based on individual use but on group consumption, which is why they are regulated by the government. Her failure to sign up for these service may be messing up the skew or something. Maybe they can give her a minimum use bill or a tax for NOT signing up… I’m trying to see how her NOT having these service affects the community. If they can show that, then they have a case…if NOT then she may be a trendsetter. But again, unless you’re Amish or a Mennonite…who wants to live in the 17th century?

say what?

December 18th, 2013
12:01 pm

The 36 year old singer who raped an 11 month old child while performing sex acts on the baby’s mom at the same time is sick. All he gets is 29 years with 20 to serve. But to blame his pedophilia on drugs, and his fans willing to do what ever it takes to be with him, is human depravity at its worst.

The motorist being stopped to conduct a National Highway and safety survey would think it was police sanctioned because … The police were there! The DNA swabbing to see if people were using drugs is a crock. If it was a mandatory survey, then ask the question are you on drugs; simple enough. Folk better start questioning the police and processes before giving up freedoms. But, NOOOOOO., we are worried about our gun rights before all else.

Don't Tread

December 18th, 2013
12:17 pm

Capturing rainwater and collecting it in a cistern for household use is common in many places that don’t have municipal water systems (the Virgin Islands is a prime example). The water is filtered and sanitized as it is used (which is the exact same thing the water company does with their water). It’s the same process, except on a smaller scale.

The city has no right to evict her because she chooses to be self-sustaining.

Bob

December 18th, 2013
12:19 pm

George Mathis, the author of this article, needs to go back to school. Unalienable rights and life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have nothing to do with the Bill of Rights or the rest of the Constitution. These are items found in the Declaration of Independence, a document severing ties with Great Britain, not a document that is supposed to be used to govern this country.

Algore

December 18th, 2013
12:27 pm

I love how you LIBERALS are criticizing this lady for being self sufficient. Pays her taxes, gets water naturally from the heavens, power from solar panels … all liberal ideas. The 2 things that tick off you liberals is that she is self-sufficient and does not need government. Guess you’d rather support a baby-factory mama who pumps out babies to get more govt money?? You liberals are just too funny … and sad.

Mayor Kasim Reed

December 18th, 2013
12:32 pm

Democrats HAVE ruined this country. The Moochers, the leaches and parasites. Leave this lady alone!!!

George Mathis

December 18th, 2013
12:32 pm

Bob, you are exactly right! I fixed it. Thx for the correction.

[...] backing up her decision to live “off the grid,” and her small home is paid for, her taxes the [...]

wrestler

December 18th, 2013
1:11 pm

Damn I wish I could have had Gwinnett County code enforcement to be half that good. Oh wait its the “Quality of Life unit”.Neighbors were getting foreclosed, so on their way out they trashed the inside and outside of the house, leaving furniture, clothes, TRASH and even toys all over the yard. All utilities were shut off prior to the trashing. Took an act of God just to get them to look at the house. And what did they do, JACK SQUAT..I know because I asked for follow up information and they told me they could not determine the owner..Hello I provided it from online court records and paid taxes by the bank to them… Now it has been determined that their were rats in the house by the owner who bought if from the bank and he is paying BIG MONEY to renovate the house..Hey Cape Coral, can you sent an officer to Gwinnett please…

say what?

December 18th, 2013
1:31 pm

Trolls have shown up blaming liberals for this lady’s fate. Look at the city’s website. I doubt that a liberal municipality would have a Gold Course Advisory Board, or charter school commission run not by the school system, but by the local government.
Always looking to inject ignance (not ignorance but ignance) wherever you troll.
I love this odd news blog.

scorpianking

December 18th, 2013
1:35 pm

its Obama’s fault

LydiasDad

December 18th, 2013
1:56 pm

jldjslksj, you’re on the wrong thread.

@@

December 18th, 2013
2:30 pm

According to the local TV report, she’s got everything BUT the government under control.

Patricia Evans

December 18th, 2013
2:50 pm

I would do the SAME, if I had solar panels AND a water collection system for inside the house! I have a water collection system (rain barrel) for my garden, which I use! I bought the barrels from my CITY (a small town in GA) and it has come in handy when rain is scarce! I would circumvent utilities if I could and may be able to someday! When you OWN your house and taxes are paid on time, whether or not you use any utilities is your own business, if it doesn’t compromise your neighbors! And apparently she does not! I hope she wins against the city! And NO! Reagan is NOT right about government!

Hind

December 18th, 2013
3:02 pm

That’s all we’ve heard for five years is go green from Obama and when someone does they get thrown out of their house. The way things have been for the last five years we may all be using rain water. Maybe she’s to proud to suck off the taxpayers. We need more people like her.

Hidden agenda

December 18th, 2013
3:17 pm

There is an active war in this country on people who think and live independently. Chronic dependence on government is the goal to insure specific voting patterns and to insure perpetual continuation of specific government activities (whether truly needed or not). At the heart of it is of course money and the government’s mentality of entitlement, but deeper is the greater love of government power and control. Expect to see far more of this kind of institutional violence against property owners and their rights as more and more people wake up to the reality that the distribution system of power, the distribution system of food, and the corrupt system of banking are all on the verge of total collapse. As more and more take the proper and prudent steps to gain independence and to shelter themselves from the coming disruptions, expect more backlash by those who see total control.

Shows like the exploitive “Doomsday Preppers” that seek to ridicule this kind of wise defensive behavior and studies like the recent one on multivitamins which seeks to undermine the benefits of good health and nutrition will become more prevalent as well to discourage this kind of independence-minded behavior among the empire’s subjects.

If our government actually respected property rights, nothing like this would ever have even been considered. But that ship sailed over a century ago.

Hidden agenda

December 18th, 2013
3:22 pm

The only fresh water on the Keys was collected rainwater. The in-ground cisterns still exist all over Key West and do a fine job of collecting the great quantity of rain that falls. This is all about “respecting their authority.” Observer is correct – Anarchy would be far better than this current situation of tyranny and abuse of power (under color of law).

[...] water bill for that address and realized the city monopoly had been thwarted,” reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.Despite the fact that Speronis’ home looks the same as every other on her street from the [...]

PhilJ

December 18th, 2013
3:49 pm

Tens of hundreds, if not millions, of people across this great nation get their water from rain collection and underground wells. Most live in areas not served by a central municpal water supplier. There are many products available to filter and clean this collected water to make it safer than municipal water supplies. All of you people that only know water through a meter just have no idea. And, they condemned her lifestyle without even going in the house! How is that for the tyranny of Gov’t? I have no doubt her house and lifestyle are just a clean and sanitary as any of her neighbors.

Mick Dundee

December 18th, 2013
4:23 pm

Rainwater tanks are very common in Australia. The rain that falls on your roof and goes down the drain pipe gets diverted to a big water tank for collection rather than just flow out to the gutter.

Chris Salzmann

December 18th, 2013
4:34 pm

Hope she sues them back and a bunch of $$$$$$.

FN_Jerk

December 18th, 2013
4:40 pm

City ordinance enforcement is a FN joke and their officers are the FN punchline. Good luck in winning your case Ms Speronis!

Belle8

December 18th, 2013
5:09 pm

What does she do with her human waste if she has no city services? Poops in a bucket and hauls it away?

James

December 18th, 2013
5:27 pm

Cape Coral is a master planned city, meaning it’s basically a huge HOA. And if there is anything that an HOA can’t stand, it’s a lack of conformity. This isn’t really about government power, it’s about neighbors not wanting a freaky hippy or freaky survivalist in their world of beige. Next thing you know she might want to grow vegetables in her yard instead of an uniform expanse of Bermuda grass.

jo tuesday

December 18th, 2013
6:33 pm

If she failed to pay her water bill they would shut it off and not think twice…BUT since she doesn’t need the water they’ve decided her home is unfit. Double standards!

Mayor Kasim Reed

December 18th, 2013
7:37 pm

Time to purge all liberals out of the USA. Again I say LEAVE THIS LADY ALONE!

Justin

December 18th, 2013
9:26 pm

Living off the grid = Prolly belongs in the nuthouse

I wouldn’t want that dumb biotch in my neighborhood

[...] “There’s a good chance they just looked at the water bill for that address and realized the city monopoly had been thwarted,” reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. [...]

workinDawg

December 19th, 2013
12:10 am

Good grief. We’ve come to this. Government at every level is out of control. She has every right to live as she pleases. This is still a free country, isn’t it??

[...] the water bill for that address and realized the city monopoly had been thwarted,” reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.Despite the fact that Speronis’ home looks the same as every other on her street from the outside, [...]

Bumper

December 19th, 2013
1:44 am

This is the same buron mentality that was at work earlier this week when a Duluth High School student was suspended for hugging one of the teachers. The best that can be hoped for is that the idiot employee(s) who did the asinine deed is non-renewed at contract review time or they’re moved to another job where they won’t be an embarrassment.

Live and let live

December 19th, 2013
2:43 am

I know of one person who built a new (350k) home in the North Georgia Mountains that is living totally off the grid. Cape Coral needs to get with the program and support people who have such initiative.

partlycloudy

December 19th, 2013
5:12 am

Well, Monticello is absolutely beautiful, as is everything else Jefferson built. I went to school in VA and saw his work. But hey, if someone can use rainwater and not have a smelly house, good for her. I guess she uses a portapoppy concept? You’d think the city would have inspected her home before declaring it not fit to live in, but that would have required city employees to actually go out and work and inspect, and city workers do not work.

[...] “There’s a good chance they just looked at the water bill for that address and realized the city monopoly had been thwarted,” reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. [...]

Hidden agenda

December 19th, 2013
8:38 am

workinDawg – No, this stopped being a free country a long time ago. Everyone just keeps spouting that lie so that they don’t have to face the reality of what will need to be done to make us free once again. Everyone is too addicted to paternalistic government, yet they are the only ones taking away our freedoms on a daily basis.