Billings, MT – The Olson family is fighting back against city zoning regulations which would cause the removal of a children’s treehouse. Brothers Logan and Dillon built the treehouse with the help of their parents and grandparents, according to the Billings Gazette.
The Montana family began building the 17-foot-tall and 80-square-foot treehouse in June, according to The Blaze. The playhouse reportedly consists of a deck and a tree on three sides. The treehouse was an immediate hit with the neighborhood kids and quickly began a favorite gathering place of youngsters.
During an era when far too many children opt to stay indoors, eat junk food, and play video games, the outdoor hangout offered a spot for imaginative play and physical recreation. Although many parents and grandparents were likely thrilled to see the children engaging in some old-fashioned fun, the Montana treehouse was apparently not well-received by everyone.
A complaint about the treehouse in the Olson front yard was reportedly filed with the Billings’ Building Division. The complaint alleged that the Olson family constructed the arboreal domicile without a building permit. According to the city’s zoning coordinator, such a permit is not required for buildings smaller than 120-square-feet in size.
Trouble was only temporarily averted for the Montana family. Since a structure is technically a building placed on the ground, the Olson family treehouse was classified as an accessory structure. The children’s playhouse does have four wooden support beams. Local zoning laws mandate that all such structure be at least 20-feet from the owner’s property line. One of the Olson treehouse posts is approximately 5-feet from the property line.
The children and their mother knocked on neighborhood doors to secure 61 signatures supporting a variance for their treehouse. The Olson clan will appear before a Board of Adjustment on December 5. The city zoning director allegedly noted that a variance is the easiest way to resolve the matter and that the request will “probably “ be granted.
Should the treehouse be torn down because of the zoning law, or should citizens be allowed to do whatever they want on their own property as long as it does not harm others?