Conway, who was given the title of the ‘last great American man’ by ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ author Elizabeth Gilbert in her 2002 biography, is fighting the department over their violations.
According to the Wall Street Journal, several officials showed up to his Turtle Island Preserve home and found that his outhouses, kitchens, and even the wood he’s used to build several structures across the properties aren’t up to snuff.
Their findings were summarized in a 78-page report.
Now the planning department is demanding that Conway either tear down his structures or rebuild them in-line with public housing codes.
‘The whole foundation of the American experience is based on the experience of small farms,’ he told WSOC TV. ‘This is a small farm.’
While he said he doesn’t have ‘a perfect record,’ he added that America’s Founding Fathers did not have to live up to scrupulous building codes.
He also said that the annual summer camps he runs – which teach outdoor skills to children each year – are at risk of ending.
One of the department’s issues was that none of Conway’s lumber was properly marked. But all of his wood is made at his personal sawmill.
‘Codes don’t apply to what we’re doing,’ he told the Wall Street Journal.