|How many of you tried to play the video? It's not really a video.|
Fox News - A zoning board in Fairfax County, Va., is standing firm in its decision to order a war veteran to destroy a tree house he built for his two young sons. County officials determined Mark Grapin, an Army aviation specialist, violated zoning regulations when he built a tree house in his backyard. “The boys wanted a tree house,” Grapin told Fox News Radio, explaining it was a promise he made to his 8-year-old and 10-year-old sons before he left for Iraq. “It was a commitment I made to the boys and, frankly, we should do our best to keep our commitments to our children."So when Grapin returned home, he followed through on that promise and headed off to the local home improvement store. He said he contacted Fairfax County and was given assurances that he didn’t need any special permits to build the $1,400 tree house. It turns out Grapin didn’t need a permit – he needed a zoning variance. That’s because his house is on a corner lot. And in the eyes of Fairfax County – Grapin has two front yards. In the meantime, Grapin has had to pay nearly $1,800 in permits and fees to build the $1,400 tree house. “I paid $885 for a special permit to build the tree house,” he said. “There were additional fees of $975 to have the plats for the property redrawn to reflect the tree house and then I had to pay mail fees to notify the neighbors of hearings so they could voice any concerns they might have about the tree house.” All that trouble – for a child’s tree house.
I was all ready to rail against government beurocracy here, and the ridiculousness of having to pull permits for a frigen tree house, but then the article started getting into costs and it blew my mind.
What kind of a tree house are we talking about here? $1,400 dollars? Is that for material or does it include labor costs or something? I mean that just blew me away. Nevermind the fact that he's also paying $1,800 in permit and zoning fees. Combined he's flushing more money down the drain than my first car costs...it's astounding. I built a shit-ton of forts in my day, and not one of them cost more than about 25 bucks. Granted the legality of most of them was questionable at best, stolen scrap wood from house construction sites, forts erected in people's wooded backyards, but we got away with it, and certainly didn't pay a dime to the city's tax coffers.
Tree houses are about freedom, not red tape and beurocracy, you slap a few planks of wood up, a questionably safe ladder nailed to the tree, and a couple of wobbly railings up top and you're good to go. No need to spend your afternoon down town filling out paper work in triplicate. Just build it and forget about it. And it should not cost $14 hundo. No way on earth. Even a high quality fort should cost, like $200 tops. If it costs anymore than that just buy your kids a new Xbox and let them occupy themselves in the basement like normal kids these days. The fort game was for a previous generation anyway.