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Zoning board puts kibosh on tree house plans

UPI News Service, 06/07/2013 

A Pennsylvania man said he was baffled by a zoning board's decision to force him to stop building a tree house for his 11-year-old daughter.

John "J.C." Carlson of Selinsgrove said he and his daughter, Samantha, were dismayed Thursday when the Selinsgrove Zoning Hearing Board voted unanimously to order him to stop building the tree house on his front yard stump and take down the portions of the structure he had already completed, The Daily Item, Sunbury, Pa., reported Friday.

"After serving 22 years in the military and thinking I've seen everything, tonight proved me absolutely wrong. I've never in my life seen anyone deny a child a tree house," Carlson said.

Carlson said Samantha had asked for a tree house for her May birthday and he had started building it on the front yard stump because it was the only tree on the property. He said neighbors gave him the OK for the construction, but a code enforcement officer still stuck him with a violation and ordered him to halt construction.

Carlson was joined by about 14 friends and neighbors at Thursday night's hearing, but they were unable to sway the board.

"I guess we're really being made to look like the bad guys," zoning board chairman Cyril Runkle said after the meeting. "But there is the alternative we suggested that a playhouse could be built elsewhere on the property. And rather than using an unstable tree stump, Mr. Carlson could use a lumber block and build what amounts to a tree house that would be safer ... and still meet code requirements."

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