Girl's Treehouse, Taller Than Law Allows, Could Be Torn Down

Friday, Jun 28, 2013  |  Updated 6:44 AM EDT
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An 8-year-old New Jersey girl's treehouse might have to be torn down after a neighbor has complained that it violates city laws. NBC 4 New York's Jen Maxfield reports.

NBC 4 New York

An 8-year-old New Jersey girl's treehouse might have to be torn down after a neighbor has complained that it violates city laws. NBC 4 New York's Jen Maxfield reports.

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An 8-year-old New Jersey girl's treehouse might have to be torn down after a neighbor has complained that it's an "eyesore" that violates city laws.

Katie Tenebruso's family built the 19-foot-tall treehouse as a birthday present last summer. It cost $6,000 to build, and features swings, windows, a staircase and bunk beds.

"I don't like being in the house all the time, I like being outside more," Katie said.

Her mother, Paula Tenebruso, says she researched the town's laws before the work began on the structure.

"I called the town and asked if there were laws governing treehouses and I was told 'No,' so we went ahead and built it," she said.

After a neighbor complained, the family was in court Thursday, arguing to keep the structure. 

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After the neighbor's complaint, the town issued summons for building without a permit and having an accessory building taller than 5 feet.

The Record newspaper reports the family's attorney on Thursday told the judge the family has filed an application seeking a permit and acquired insurance for the treehouse.

They will need a variance to bypass Emerson town laws that require sheds and other auxiliary structures to stand no taller than 15 feet. The family will also need proof of insurance to keep the playhouse.

Judge Francis Leddy says he doesn't want to “break a little girl's heart,” but the treehouse may have to come down if it violates code.

 


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