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Guy Embroiled in an All-Out Zoning Battle Over Treehouse

A modest-looking and decidedly un-fancy 58-square-foot treehouse in Fairfax County, Va., has recently captured national attention because it's putting its owner—a father of two and member of the Army National Guard—through the wringer. First Mark Grapin called the building department to ask whether he needed some special permits in order to build his two sons, 9 and 11, a treehouse. They said, don't be silly! So Grapin set out and spent $1,400 on supplies and built the thing, thinking all would be right with the world. Soon after, some neighbors called the county inspector, who decided the treehouse did, in fact, violate local zoning laws because it technically sits in the front yard—Grapin lives on a corner lot. In turn, the poor guy forked over another $1,800 to apply for a zoning variance—it was denied, of course. Now, he may be forced to demolish his creation. Here's the most heartbreaking thing: he might've used the money he wasted to take the boys to Disneyland instead. "It's a treehouse, for crying out loud," he told the Washington Post, later admitting, "Am I disappointed in the process, that it’s so red-tapish? Sure. But you live by the rules.”

· Father battles Fairfax County zoning laws for sons' treehouse [Washington Post via The Week]