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Definitions Definition (or lack thereof) of treehouse

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
I like how the person who told them they could do it is now dead, that is a bit too conveneient. Unfortunately similar comments come up here, so and so told me I could do it in 1975 so it still must be true.
 

SW MI Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
3,195
Points
26
Mary Welch said that in early 1997 she went to the city's permit department where an official told her a permit to build an elaborate structure in a tree in the front yard was not needed, Smith said. The building inspector is now dead.
Oh Oh, I wonder what they did to him ;)

I personally think it would be an accessory building, but I wonder what their definition was that the judge didn't see it that way.
 

gkmo62u

Cyburbian
Messages
1,046
Points
24
Looks like a great place for the kids to play and a nice but quirky addition to the neighborhood.

I have no problem with it.

Tree Houses are apart of Americana.
 

ecofem

Cyburbian
Messages
206
Points
9
I have nightmares about treehouses.

In Orlando, a family built a treehouse in their front yard (against the Zoning Code). After construction was complete, they got flagged by the Code Inspector, and came before the Board of Zoning Adjustment for a variance.

I was on the Board.

News cameras rolling...

Children testifying. Petitions presented. Parents pleading.

Variance denied.

It wasn't pleasant.
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
while nowhere close to that one, I have to confess that my tree house, growing up, had electricity. Light switches, outlets, the whole 9.

It also had a steering wheel ;)
 

Duke Of Dystopia

Cyburbian
Messages
2,713
Points
24
he he :)

We wine about not having interesting things in our communities in one thread, and in the next we get angry and bewildered by why the nice little cattle in the small barns don't blindly and adamantly adhere to our fixed and rigid system of code! :)

GO TREEHOUSE!!!!! :)
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
We have recieved complaints about a nice treehouse in the front yard at a property very close to City Hall. I recieved about 5 calls on it. We determined that we would take no action on the complaints because 1) They had no backyard to put a treehouse in; and 2) The local paper would have been all over us of we made them rip it down.

We have adopted the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy with treehouses.
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,387
Points
25
Repo Man said:
We have adopted the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy with treehouses.
That was pretty much my policy when I did zoning enforcement. I had one of the local anti-zoning activists come in once and insist I require him to apply for a permit for his kids' treehouse. He just wanted the joy of debating draconian regulations in the public forum the zoning board variance hearing would have provided.

I wasn't about to touch that one.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,853
Points
39
From the photo, it appears it is only connected to the tree by one board. It's not "in" the tree or supported by the tree. I say it's an accessory structure.

What happens when the kids outgrow the "treehouse"?
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
ecofem said:
I have nightmares about treehouses.

In Orlando, a family built a treehouse in their front yard (against the Zoning Code). After construction was complete, they got flagged by the Code Inspector, and came before the Board of Zoning Adjustment for a variance.

I was on the Board.

News cameras rolling...

Children testifying. Petitions presented. Parents pleading.

Variance denied.

It wasn't pleasant.
Children testified, what do they say "I like my treehouse!"? I think it's a nice way of showing children they need to follow rules or be punished, but I can be evil sometimes.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
Habanero said:
Children testified, what do they say "I like my treehouse!"? I think it's a nice way of showing children they need to follow rules or be punished, but I can be evil sometimes.
I know. ;)
 

plannerkat

Cyburbian
Messages
204
Points
9
Nothing irks me more than when parents have their 4-year olds "testify." That said, I would think that their homeowners insurance carriers would flip out at the potential liability associated with a "treehouse" in the front yard.
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
Zoning Goddess said:
From the photo, it appears it is only connected to the tree by one board. It's not "in" the tree or supported by the tree. I say it's an accessory structure.

What happens when the kids outgrow the "treehouse"?
I concur... I vote that the thing in the photo is an accessory structure.

True treehouses have never been regulated in the communities I have worked in...
 

ecofem

Cyburbian
Messages
206
Points
9
Basically, the kids did say "I like my treehouse." A few members of the Board did vote in favor of the variance (didn't want to seem like the 'bad guys')... However I was EVIL and voted against the variance.

The darn thing was in the front yard of a downtown neighborhood (as opposed to out in the boonies)!

I still get harassed to this day by coworkers saying I'm the big bad wolf who helped blow the treehouse down.

*Grr* (or bark? what do wolves do?)
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,853
Points
39
ecofem said:

I still get harassed to this day by coworkers saying I'm the big bad wolf who helped blow the treehouse down.

*Grr* (or bark? what do wolves do?)
I think you're supposed to howl, and then gnaw their limbs off.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
I think Zoning Goddess hit the nail right on the head. There is a difference between a platform in a tree (think Bart Simpson's treehouse) and a two-story outbuilding with trees next to it. If any other accessory building would be prohibited in a front yard, then why should this one be permitted? A few other random thoughts.

- I had a "fort" as a kid, which I am sure was never permitted. It was next to a tree with a rope ladder leading to a platform we kids constructed, and it sometimes did not collapse.

- Excuse me, did you say $5000 for a kid's "treehouse?"

- I could see an exception depending on the size of the front yard. If the house is a couple hundred feet or more from the road, and the thing is not in an obvious place, then maybe it does not do any harm.
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
Zoning Goddess said:
I think you're supposed to howl, and then gnaw their limbs off.
snarl :)

I've had applicants cry before, ask how I sleep at night, tell me I'm ruining the lives of every child in my current city... I told her got about 8 hours on average.


I wasn't allowed to have a fort- my mom was a planner for our town and she knew it wasn't allowed. Damn the man.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Habanero said:
snarl :)

I've had applicants cry before, ask how I sleep at night, tell me I'm ruining the lives of every child in my current city... I told her got about 8 hours on average.
Too much tact... I'd tell them I don't like kids anyway.
 

Otis

Cyburbian
Messages
5,165
Points
28
Michael Stumpf said:
Too much tact... I'd tell them I don't like kids anyway.
I work with someone who tells people she does like children: they taste like chicken.
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
Michael Stumpf said:
I could see an exception depending on the size of the front yard. If the house is a couple hundred feet or more from the road, and the thing is not in an obvious place, then maybe it does not do any harm.
Good point to us city folk... I have never worked in a city where the houses were more than 30 feet from the street, so this "treehouse" seemed excessive. In a rural setting, maybe it's not so bad.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,853
Points
39
Habanero said:
snarl :)

I've had applicants cry before, ask how I sleep at night, tell me I'm ruining the lives of every child in my current city... I told her got about 8 hours on average.

I
Hehehe; there's the "fun" in zoning... It only gets better when you're frustrating the polygrips (old farts).
 

Streck

Cyburbian
Messages
605
Points
18
I have heard it on good sources that in an effort to show good faith compromise, the city offered to assist the owner with local volunteers in disassembling the treehouse, and then re-assembling it at a tree in the rear yard, thereby rendering the treehouse as a legally complying accessory building.

The judge was made aware of this offer.

The owner refused the proposed settlement.
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
After living in Miss from 93 to 98 and my now wife living there until last year (meaning I visited the state a lot) I just am not suprised that this is where this occured. I am just not at all suprised.

especially after seeing the website.
 

gkmo62u

Cyburbian
Messages
1,046
Points
24
we all missed the point: its in mississippi; how could it possibly have a negative effect property on values?
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
What about going after them on building code violations? Looking at they upper deck it may not be secured properly, due to the lenght of cantilever to building ratios.icon12.gif

The scarier thing is that this treehouse is almost the size of my house (it is definitely taller) and the interior is finished nicer (I'm still under construction)

The website makes me laugh and get angry at the same time.
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,387
Points
25
Streck said:
I have heard it on good sources that in an effort to show good faith compromise, the city offered to assist the owner with local volunteers in disassembling the treehouse, and then re-assembling it at a tree in the rear yard, thereby rendering the treehouse as a legally complying accessory building.

The judge was made aware of this offer.

The owner refused the proposed settlement.
Given the wide geographic coverage of the U.S. now represented on the forums, I'm beginning to think any news story thread started for discussion and commentary should automatically be labeled The Rest of the Story.
 

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
5,406
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32
You have to read the complete judges decison from the website. Southern law is so colorful. After reading the case I think it should have been ruled a nonconforming use.
 

tsc

Cyburbian
Messages
1,905
Points
23
... the tree house is more massive than the tree. That particular tree house might be tasteful... but what are they going to do.. have design guidelines for tree houses... to prevent shabby ones from being built????

If it were in the back yard.. fine.. but not in the front. Towns in our county are passing laws to prevent crap in front yards... such as play structures and even those nasty nylon giant glowing blow up santas...
 

ilikefish0

Cyburbian
Messages
204
Points
9
Definitely not a treehouse.
A treehouse consists of a piece of plywood and some 2x4's nailed (poorly) to a tree. A big rope to hold the thing together is optional. (you can even skip the plywood--I did)

Actually, now that I think about it, anythig you can get into the tree is game. I too had electricity, but it was an extension cord and a surge protector.

P.S. Rotten plywood works real good for a roof.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
I think if I were a neighbor I would get some old pieces of plywood, two by fours, and plastic sheeting to make myself the most godafwul ugly "treehouse" you have ever seen. It would need electricity, of course, to power the strobe lights. After erecting it in my front yard, I would wait to see how long it took for the neighbors to begin calling for the city to enforce its codes.
 

Zoning Goddess

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13,853
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39
Michael Stumpf said:
I think if I were a neighbor I would get some old pieces of plywood, two by fours, and plastic sheeting to make myself the most godafwul ugly "treehouse" you have ever seen. It would need electricity, of course, to power the strobe lights. After erecting it in my front yard, I would wait to see how long it took for the neighbors to begin calling for the city to enforce its codes.
You have an evil mind. Hehehe. Cool... Mind games with the pompous neighbors...
 

LouisvilleSlugger

Cyburbian
Messages
216
Points
9
Zoning Goddess said:
You have an evil mind. Hehehe. Cool... Mind games with the pompous neighbors...
Yeah, that's cool!!!!

Zoning Goddess said:
[
What happens when the kids outgrow the "treehouse"? [/B]
thats the question I am still grappling, even as an adult. I miss mine. the fun we use to have with it!!!!! but those days are over.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
Michael Stumpf said:
I think if I were a neighbor I would get some old pieces of plywood, two by fours, and plastic sheeting to make myself the most godafwul ugly "treehouse" you have ever seen. It would need electricity, of course, to power the strobe lights. After erecting it in my front yard, I would wait to see how long it took for the neighbors to begin calling for the city to enforce its codes.
Amen, you NIMBY;)
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
Is that town hiring?

It sounds like council is taking the rationale, nonpoliticially expedient decision to support the By-law and staff.

The alderman definitely has a point, it is a strucutrure built illegally and therefore it should go.
 

MusicManiac

Member
Messages
1
Points
0
Another Treehouse

I'm now in the anti-kid boat. The owner of a property in an affluent part of town ahas begun construction of treehouse in the front yard. His house is set very far back on the lot and he has no rear yard in which to put the treehouse. Actually, although it to be in the tree, it has several posts set in concrete in the ground adjacent to the tree. He's appealing my code enforcement supervisor's decision (who sent the notice when I was on vacation) about it being permitted in the front yard. I envision a plethora of bad press on this issue, so I'm trying to find a way in which to avoid this debate and the public scrutiny over a pretty inocuous non-issue. The "complaint" was supposedly from a neighbor, but it was anonymous. does anyone have any case law references? Anyone have any background facts, appeals, minutes of BZA meetings, Staff reports, etc. they can send me to look at? If so, I can provide my E-mail address or FAX. Thanks.

Chuck
Richmond, VA
 

cch

Cyburbian
Messages
1,436
Points
20
From the photo, it appears it is only connected to the tree by one board. It's not "in" the tree or supported by the tree. I say it's an accessory structure.
I'm with you ZG. This isn't a treehouse. It is a two-story playhouse that happens to be next to some trees, in my opinion. Yeah, it looks cool, but it is totally non-conforming. And I don't know if I'd want my kid playing up there, when it hasn't been inspected.
 
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