Girl Can’t Use Treehouse Amid Neighbors’ Spat: Parents

A 10-year-old Delaware girl with Down syndrome can no longer use her treehouse after a neighbor hired a contractor to take a chainsaw to a supporting tree trunk, her parents say, amid an escalating neighborhood spat over the treehouse. 

"He stood there and said, ‘Cut it, cut it!’" Robert Cole said of his neighbor. He said it is now too dangerous for his daughter Grace to play in the treehouse.

But the neighbor defended his decision, saying he and others community members worried they could be liable if someone got hurt.

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The Coles have long been battling their neighbors over the treehouse, which was built years ago and which they admit encroaches on a path owned by the neighborhood association that is located directly behind their home. Robert Cole says liability fears have fueled the argument.

The neighbor stands by his decision to have the treehouse removed permanently, telling NBC10 he is concerned the girl could get hurt on his property and he does not want to be liable for any injuries.

But Grace's family questioned the legality of the neighbor’s actions. “I believe the place where he made the cut is actually on our property," Robert Cole said.

The Cole family is considering legal action, but a survey to determine the exact property lines is needed.

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