City Deciding if Treehouse Violates Code

A kids treehouse in Highland, Arkansas is facing the local Planning and Zoning Commission, who may order its destruction. Is a treehouse a 'structure'?
March 14, 2009, 11am PDT | Tim Halbur
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The major problems, [code enforcement officer Ralph Sharp] said, are that the treehouse is too close to the city's right of way and appears unsafe. If it ever collapsed, it could fall out into the road and hurt someone.

City code also requires the submission of building plans and a resulting building permit for all "structures."

It does not address treehouses specifically, but Sharp said they're "structures" and require commission approval.

"If I were a kid, I'd love a treehouse like that," Sharp said. "But I've got to do something now. If a kid was to fall out of it and get hurt, who is responsible? Me for not stopping them? I don't know."

Brian Shackelford [the builder] said the treehouse is safe and shouldn't fall under the city's definition of a structure.

Shackelford said structures are larger, permanent and have electricity and plumbing.

Regardless, he never imagined he'd need a building permit to put up a treehouse for his kids.

'I don't care how many laws there are about it,' Shackelford said. 'It's just so ridiculous. It's a treehouse.'"

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Published on Monday, March 2, 2009 in Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
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