The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

August 24, 2013

As summer fades, Selinsgrove tree house ruling remains in limbo

By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item

— SELINSGROVE — When John “J.C.” Carlson began building a tree house for his 11-year-old daughter in May, he had no inkling she wouldn’t get a chance to enjoy it all summer.

Samanatha returned to school last week without once playing in the tree house her father intended to build for her May birthday.

Instead, shortly after he began constructing the tree house in the front yard of their 701 W. Spruce St. home, the Selinsgrove zoning officer sent a note informing Carlson that the 8-foot by 6-foot accessory structure built on a tree stump is not allowed on the front lawn.

With the support of several residents, Carlson approached the zoning hearing board to request a variance, but was turned down.

Now he’s taking his case to Snyder County Court.

A hearing date hasn’t been set, but Carlson said he probably wouldn’t have taken it that far were it not for a comment made by zoning hearing board solicitor Robert Slivinski that it was a “good thing” Samantha didn’t ask for a castle with a moat.

“I may have let it go but for that remark,” Carlson said, bristling at the memory. “I just want to build a tree house for my daughter. No one gets a second chance at childhood.”

Meanwhile, the unfinished wooden tree house is taking a beating from the rain because he’s unable to do anything with it and he doesn’t want to create an eyesore by placing a tarp over it.

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