After more than three years, bitcoin’s most visible and arguably most successful charity has won its legal battle with Escambia County. The decision to issue a permit allows Sean’s Outpost to continue operating Satoshi Forest for the foreseeable future.
Sean’s Outpost is a primarily bitcoin funded homeless outreach charity. The focus was providing meals to the homeless. Utilizing bitcoin, they were able to do it much more effectively than charities with similar goals in the area. Eventually, Sean’s Outpost created Satoshi Forest on private land, to provide the homeless with a place to stay.
With no permanent structures, Satoshi Forest looks a bit like a 9-acre campground, only more colorful and with a sense of community. All its residents are homeless and that seemed to be at the heart of the debate.
The County opposed Satoshi Forest ostensibly because it didn’t have a permanent, all-weather road for the maintenance of the site’s portable toilets. This led the Escambia County Board of Adjustment to deny their permit back in 2015 and then narrowly deny Sean Outpost’s appeal by a 3-3 vote in December 2016 (the board decided that a tie was not enough to overturn a decision).
That decision was overturned in October by Judge Thomas Dannheisser, who determined no such regulation was in place. Additionally, in their initial ruling, the board denied the permit because the County determined that Sean’s Outpost didn’t make the upgrades that the County determined to be necessary before it could issue a permit. However, the county never provided Sean’s Outpost with a written list of what was needed. Instead, on the form informing them of their permit denial, the county had checked “See Below” as the reason for the denial. Problem was, they left the corresponding space on the form blank.
This led Judge Dannheisser to determine the Escambia County Board of Adjustment lacked “competent substantial evidence” since the court could not find the all-weather road requirement in any county or board regulations.
On November 13th, the Escambia County Board re-ruled on the permit, granting it to Sean’s Outpost. The only condition being that they increase the vegetative buffer space between the neighboring plots of land…