Governments' Lighter Side

Zoning board condemns treehouse

In an emotional plea to the Minneapolis zoning board, young Daniel Pryke made one last admonishment to keep his treehouse. The board voted no – the structure must be torn down, and with it, a little boy’s dreams.

Alright, that may be a little melodramatic, but its not everyday zoning disputes are wrought with such emotion. According to the Star Tribune, a two-year dispute over the 13-year-old boy’s treehouse, which his father built for him, came to a close last week, but not before the boy made one final, tearful appeal.

“I would just like to say that I really like my treehouse,” Daniel pleaded. “I spend a lot of time in it and I would really like it if it didn’t have to be taken down.”
 
However, city officials determined the treehouse is too high and too close to a neighbor’s home, according to the Crookston Times.
 
The Star Tribune reports the boy’s father, Clement Pryke, argued that the structure should be considered a special case, as that it does not fit under city code, and that the structure shouldn’t merit special concern from the next door neighbor, who filed the initial complaint in August 2012.

Officials told Pyke at the time he could apply for specific exemptions, although he’d have to move the treehouse to a lower height, and even then the city could still deny the exemptions. The Star Tribune reports Pyke instead met with city officials, started a petition drive in the neighbored and filed a formal appeal to keep the treehouse.

Ultimately it was all for naught, and the treehouse was condemned. “I think it’s unfortunate that something done with as positive of intention as this has turned out in this venue,” board member Dick Sandberg told the Star Tribune. “But I see no choice other than to agree with the zoning administrator. I think it was an expensive treehouse, a very nice treehouse, and it’s turned into an expensive lesson in the civic process for this family.”

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What's Governments' Lighter Side?

It is an irreverent take on local and state government news.

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Derek Prall

Derek Prall is a professional journalist who has held numerous positions with a variety of print and online publications including The Public Manager magazine and the New Jersey Herald. He is a 2008...
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