COMMENTARY | Did you have a treehouse or a playhouse in the back yard when you were a child? The two sons of an Iraqi war veteran do, but they may have to stand by and watch it get demolished in the near future.
Zoning laws have gotten way out of control in America. I live in a rural area without any zoning. Yes, absolutely no zoning laws and we all get along just fine. No homes, garages or backyard play structures have collapsed without the governmental oversight required in suburban and urban areas.
The story of an illegal treehouse in Falls Church, Va., was highlighted on Fox and Friends for the last two days. The dad returns from putting his life on the line in Iraq and wants to do something special for his two little Boy Scouts. Mark Grapin promised his sons the treehouse upon his return, so he called the county permit office to secure the necessary permits. The public employee told him there was nothing required by his office for such a play structure. He spent more than $1,500 for supplies, grabbed a hammer and made a little dream come true.
Unfortunately for the Grapin family, a cold-hearted neighbor made two anonymous complaints about the treehouse, which is apparently a no-no if you live on a corner lot. The zoning board denied the initial appeal. Chapin has now spent close to $3,000 battling the county and has one final attempt to appeal.
Having friends and relatives who live in metropolitan areas, I have heard the horror stories about dealing with zoning laws. It's just hard to fathom paying for the right to improve or build something on your own property. Reporting improvements to the county auditor and insurance carriers is a very simple task compared to the red tape involved with even the tiniest of projects for city dwellers.
Taking real estate classes in Columbus, Ohiom, was a real eye-opener about the ludicrous zoning laws in some areas. A very enigmatic instructor named Bob was late one day because he was fighting a fine for leaving his boat parked for longer than 24 hours.
I would like it if one of my neighbors cut his grass more frequently, but I would rather deal with it or pay the teenager who cuts the grass on our properties next door to cut his lawn also than deal with such rigid rules.