Back in August, we noticed a sign while biking around the Village that said “Save The Cockenoe Treehouse” and asked people to show up at Village Hall on August 14th to show support. We posted about it on Facebook and there was some good discussion, but there was no more information. We heard the hearing was delayed and then no more about it.
Today in Newsday, we learn that the Leppers had their day in court and have been fined $475 by Village Justice John Rafter for building without a permit. There is another hearing this week with more violations possible to follow.
John Lepper doesn’t think a permit is needed. He claims the tree house falls under the code that allows playgrounds or gyms of less than 90 square feet. Village attorney Gerard Glass disagrees and compares the tree house to “a small studio apartment in the sky abutting the property line”
Once the village is “put on notice” about something, Glass said, it becomes liable for injuries, like a child falling.
Lepper said he will consider completing the application “if it’s necessary” but is looking into other options. He also could appeal the ruling, but that would mean hiring an attorney and going to a Brooklyn court to do so, something he said isn’t feasible.