David Hoffman of Marin County, Calif., Ordered to Tear Down Sustainable Home He Built for 40 Years

David Hoffman sustainable home

David Hoffman (pictured above) of Marin County, Calif., has built a pond that refills with groundwater using a solar powered pump. He utilizes buckets of worms to digest food waste and human waste and turn it into useful fertilizer for his gardens. He has carved caves for drying tea leaves. And he has used recycled materials to build an ornate teahouse.

Hoffman, who has 30 completed or partially completed structures on his property, has made his entire home completely sustainable. It's taken him 40 years to build it.

And now he has until Aug. 1 to tear it and all the others down.

County officials said Hoffman didn't have permits to build the structures, so he must get rid of them -- and pay nearly $200,000 in fines.

"It's an expression of complete and blatant disregard for collaborating with authorities," Steve Kinsey, a Marin County supervisor, told The New York Times. "But it is also the life work of a creative individual."

Hoffman's trouble with the law started in 1988, when a building inspector ordered him to stop construction of a "Tea Pagoda." Since then, he has repeatedly ignored requests to file for permits and orders to tear down his illegal additions. According to a code-enforcement hearing-officer staff report, he also illegally runs a commercial tea business from his property.

The county isn't blindly following the law, though. Kinsey has expressed his regrets for forcing someone to tear down his life's work.

"It would be tragic in my opinion, to see that piece of work destroyed," Kinsey told NBC Bay Area. Kinsey said he hopes the county can find a way for Hoffman to keep his work and said it is exploring ways to achieve that.

David Hoffman's Sustainable Structures
See Gallery
David Hoffman of Marin County, Calif., Ordered to Tear Down Sustainable Home He Built for 40 Years

Hoffman is still hoping that he can keep his building and continue to pursue his dream. He set up a website and petition in an effort to rally community support.

"My love of the planet is greater than my fear of the law," he told The New York Times.

View more videos at: http://nbcbayarea.com.

See also:
Officer Fired After Entering Woman's Bedroom to Serve Notice for Overgrown Lawn

Xeriscaping: 6 steps to Natural, Low Maintenance Lawn
Home Builder Turns Trash Into $10,000 Green Homes

Multimillion-Dollar Teardowns
See Gallery
David Hoffman of Marin County, Calif., Ordered to Tear Down Sustainable Home He Built for 40 Years

Clark and Sharon Winslow of Belvedere, Calif. owned a $19 million 11,200-square-foot mansion with a "resort-style health club," a 60-foot pool and 5,000 square feet of stone terraces. But they weren't too thrilled about their partially obstructed view. Luckily for them, the obstructing house next door was foreclosed on and went up for auction. They purchased it for $4.2 million...

And promptly had it demolished. The Winslows plan to use the newly vacant lot as a garden. As their neighbor Roger snow told NBC Bay Area, "The view is really nice now!"

Real estate mogul Morris Moinian got a killer deal on this Southampton, N.Y., property. Originally listed for $3.5 million, Moinian managed to score a closing price of just $2.7 million. According to the New York Post, Moinian plans to tear down the seven-bedroom, 5,700-square-foot home to build a 12,000-square-foot home in its place.

Mitt Romney purchased a $12 million, 3,000-square-foot home in San Diego's La Jolla community. But in 2011, he decided it was simply too small for his five children and 18 grandchildren to enjoy. He released plans to raze the house and build an 11,000-square-foot home in its place. The new home will also have a split-level four-car garage with a $55,000 car elevator.

Romney can at least enjoy his other homes during the construction.

Hedge fund billionaire David Tepper purchased this Sagaponack, Long Island, estate in 2010 for $43.5 million, the most expensive transaction of the year in that area. But instead of enjoying the 6,000 square foot estate, he chose to go in a different direction.

He leveled it! Tepper not only destroyed the main house, but he razed the tennis court, filled the swimming pool and destroyed the guesthouse. His plan? Build an even bigger home.

David Schwimmer purchased this restored 1852 townhouse in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan for $4.1 million in 2010. However, it hadn't yet been designated a historical landmark by the city. Schwimmer quickly knocked down the property, much to the chagrin of his neighbors.

Elin Nordgren, the former wife of golf superstar Tiger Woods, purchased this Palm Beach, Fla., mansion in March 2011 for $12 million. The home was originally built in the 1920s, but it was infested with termites and wasn't built up to modern hurricane codes. So should she try and fix it up? Nah.

Why not knock it down? Builders determined that it actually made more financial sense just to destroy the old house. The new home will come with ultra-modern amenities and include a wine room, gym and a theater.


More on AOL Real Estate:
Find out how to
calculate mortgage payments.
homes for sale in your area.
foreclosures in your area.
Find homes for rent in your area.

Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

Read Full Story

Find a home

Powered by Zillow