I focus on food policy. And while the regulations on food grate on me, rarely do I want to burst into tears. But this story linked on Drudge, really makes me shake with fury.
Just a few miles from where I live, city regulators in the town of Falls Church, Virginia are eyeing a treehouse–built by a father named Mark Grapin for his two young sons.
What boy woudln't love a treehouse. Yay for the cool treehouse building dad!
Before starting on his ambitious project, Grapin called county officials to find out the rules for building a structure in one's own backyard (which in and of itself kind of grates! It's HIS backyard!). The county official laughed him off the phone saying the treehouse need not be "built to any code."
Given this information, Grapin proceeded to build a treehouse with $1,400 worth of products he bought at the hardware store. And it turned out to be pretty darn perfect!
It has red clapboard siding, shingles, a slide, a pull-down ladder, two climbing ropes, closed windows and shutters. It is wrapped around the tree but stands free, not touching the tree. It stands to the side of his house.
Yes, all was perfect, until some jerk anonymously complained to the County (Grapin doesn't know what Scrooge-like creature tattled) and well, the fun was over.
Grapin was told he had to treat it like an addition to his house and get a zoning variance. He spent more than $1,800 getting the proper forms and going through a hearing.
The home sits on a corner lot and Zoning Board Chairman John Ribble says that means what Grapin thought was a side lot is actually the front lot.
The variance was rejected.
Grapin says he has an appeal scheduled for Nov. 30, but if he loses that he will have to remove the treehouse.
"I don't have the heart for it," he says. "I'm gonna go pay some day laborers and hide in the house while they take a saw to it."
If that happens, what will he tell his kids?
"Daddy makes mistakes. We tried our best. I made a mistake by not knowing enough."
Of course, this daddy didn't make a mistake and he didn't do anything wrong. He simply lives in a world that gets weirder every day. Just when you think things have gotten as weird as they possibly can (shutting down lemonade stands, outlawing medium rare hamburgers, arresting Amish farmers), along comes a story about an outlaw treehouse. Oy!