The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


June 15, 2013

Tree house splits Viker house

Councilman backs girl’s gift; zoning board wife against

SELINSGROVE — John “J.C.” Carlson said he was pleased to have the support of Selinsgrove Councilman Erik Viker during his controversial attempt to build his daughter Samantha a tree house on their front lawn.

But Carlson was dismayed to learn Viker’s wife is one of five borough Zoning Hearing Board members who voted to deny his request for a variance to keep it on his property.

“Isn’t that a conflict of interest?” Carlson inquired.

Carlson’s attorney, Joel Wiest, said he doesn’t believe there is a conflict because Viker has “publicly stated he would have found in favor of J.C. That negates any conflict because there is no prejudice.”

Viker has commented frequently on social media discussions about Carlson’s tree house but did not return several calls to The Daily Item.

His wife, Brenda Fabian, also did not return a phone call.

Fabian and the four other Zoning Hearing Board members voted unanimously June 6 to deny the variance that would have allowed Carlson to continue building the tree house in his front yard at 701 W. Spruce.

Carlson’s tree house violates the zoning ordinance because it is located on his front lawn on a lot that doesn’t accommodate its large size and is deemed an accessory structure.

In the days leading up to the hearing, Viker, a Libertarian, made several online comments about the issue.

“All zoning laws need to be systematically reformed to make sure they are not needlessly infringing on property owners’ right to do whatever they want to do with their property, provided nobody else’s rights are being violated. ‘Because it’s a rule’ is a cowardly way to govern,” he said in one discussion.

Carlson plans to appeal the Zoning Hearing Board’s decision to the Snyder County Court of Common Pleas once a written decision is rendered.

Wiest said it’s the only option despite Zoning Hearing Board Chairman Cyril Runkle’s suggestion that Carlson could build his daughter’s tree house in the back yard.

“There’s no other tree on the yard and it’s a safety hazard if he has to put it in the back yard,” Wiest said, describing a sloping back yard that’s not as easily viewed from inside.

Carlson was building the 8-foot by 6-foot wooden structure to celebrate Samantha’s 11th birthday in May.


Text Only
  • Reel good time enjoyed by 200 young anglers

    TREVORTON — It only took about three minutes for J.C. Wallish to reel in his first fish at the Little Shamokin Creek Watershed Association’s annual Youth Trout Derby on Saturday.

    April 19, 2014

  • Elytte Barbour's 'bad trip' put him on the road to prison, friend says

    SUNBURY — A former roommate of slaying suspect Elytte Barbour drove 450 miles from North Carolina to spend 45 minutes in the Northumberland County Prison with his best friend last week, and was not surprised when he heard Barbour say: “I am afraid to spend the rest of my life in jail.”

    April 19, 2014

  • bonehunt20a.jpg 60 dogs battle for biscuits at annual bone hunt

    It was a scene similar to ones playing out all over the nation this weekend: nervous parents holding baskets and bags, watching their little ones search for goodies in the grass.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona tribe set to prosecute first non-Indian under a new law

    PASCUA YAQUI INDIAN RESERVATION, Ariz. — Tribal police chief Michael Valenzuela drove through darkened desert streets, turned into a Circle K convenience store and pointed to the spot beyond the reservation line where his officers used to take the non-Indian men who battered Indian women.

    April 19, 2014

  • Danville parents hope strike ends quickly

    DANVILLE ““ First-grader Madison Wild was sad she missed school Thursday.

    April 19, 2014

  • Schools ask state to waive 180-day rule

    Three area school districts have asked the Pennsylvania Department of Education to add up their hours instead of their days in order to reach the required amount of instruction time in the school year.

    April 19, 2014

  • Former Bucknell star in NBA playoffs

    ATLANTA — It really hit Mike Muscala a few days ago when he was listening to the Nets’ starting lineup at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

    April 19, 2014

  • State: Discard raw milk from Greenfield Dairy

    MIDDLEBURG — Consumers should discard raw milk purchased recently from the Greenfield Dairy of Middleburg, which also has temporarily suspended production after Listeria monocytogenes was discovered in the product following routine testing, the state Department of Agriculture announced today.

    April 18, 2014

  • Penn State police: Three posed nude at Nittany shrine

    STATE COLLEGE — Penn State police say three male students who reportedly posed nude for a photo at the university’s Nittany Lion Shrine face school discipline.

    April 18, 2014

  • State unemployment rate drops to 6 percent in March

    HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s jobless rate has continued its steady decline. The state Department of Labor and Industry says unemployment fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 6 percent in March.

    April 18, 2014

The Daily Marquee

How do you eat your chocolate Easter bunny?

Feet first
Tail first
Ears first
     View Results
Photo Galleries
The Valley


Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.