In 2012, Florida resident Robin Speronis made the decision to live off the grid. She uses solar panels, propane heaters, rainwater filters, and a camp shower to get by without using her city’s water or electrical services.
Her lifestyle drew the interest of those in her community – so much so that a local news station decided to run a segment on her. Just one day after the story ran, city authorities showed up at Speronis’ door.
“A code-enforcement officer came, knocked on the door then posts a placard that says ‘uninhabitable property, do not enter’,” she told WFTX in an interview. Speronis owns her home and is paid up to date on all taxes, so the typical reasons for an eviction notice do not apply.
Cape Coral’s city code-compliance manager said the notice was placed at Speronis’ home because she doesn’t have running water or electricity at the house. But, as Speronis and attorney Todd Allen point out, neither of these offenses are listed in the city code.
"When this was brought to my attention I felt like I had to act. I felt like Cape Coral was intruding in the woman's lifestyle," Allen said.
Speronis met last Thursday with a magistrate who ruled she was not guilty of not having a proper sewer or electrical system. The magistrate did, however, rule that she needed to be hooked up to an approved water supply. The city has given her 30 days to hook her home up to the city’s water service.
Speronis says she doesn’t plan on giving in.
"I'm choosing to live without being dependent on the system," she said. "I don't have to justify my life. They have to. That's the way our system of justice works. They have to justify it. I don't"