Seems like the compelling story of a father building a tree house for his son and then being fined for it after refusing to get proper permits has captured the imagination of local news organizations. Yesterday, Newsday covered this important news story and today NBC, CBS, ABC and News 12 have jumped into the fray.
Here’s a round up of those stories, collected here for your convenience.
Bayden and Brianna Lepper of Babylon Village are delighted by the backyard tree house that dad built. But since a photo of it was taken, the tree house has been off limits.
“I built a nice, safe outdoor playground for these kids and they’ve been ordered not to use it,” homeowner John Lepper told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan on Monday.
Lepper, a FDNY firefighter, received a letter from the village building inspector on May 10, informing him that the structure may require a building permit. Village code states that any playground larger in size than 90 square feet requires a permit. Lepper said the tree house is 86 square feet, but he was willing to play along.
“On May 21st, I went down to the village filled out the application for the permit, submitted a drawing, elevation drawing of the tree house with a survey with the location of it,” Lepper said. “The building department told me that it was acceptable with the application, never heard back from the village, until July 19th when I received one envelope with three summonses in it for construction of a tree house without a permit.”
According to Lepper, there is another reason why he hopes the treehouse stays pirched, overlooking his backyard. Lepper says he recently found a needle in the bushes next to his home. He thinks the lights installed on the treehouse could deter crime on an otherwise dark street.
“This is what they want to waste taxpayer dollars on: treehouses. Not heroin needles. But, treehouses,” he says.
Lepper is set to take his fight to the state appeals court in the coming days.
John Lepper, who began building the treehouse in May, claims it does not violate town code.
“An act of God is the only thing that is taking this tree house down,” he says.