EMERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A nearly yearlong battle over a treehouse is moving to a courtroom in New Jersey.
The 12-by-12-foot wooden fort was built for an 8-year-old Emerson girl last year for her birthday.
“She just pretends it’s her magic treehouse,” the girl’s mother, Paula Tenebruso, told WCBS 880′s Levon Putney.
The treehouse cost $6,000 and includes a staircase, four Anderson windows, a deck and a bunk bed.
“It was made above code by a professional builder and we built it pretty much with safety in mind,” Tenebruso told 1010 WINS. “I put in Anderson windows so the glass wouldn’t shatter and hurt the kids when they were playing in there.”
Neighbor Joe Geronimo calls the treehouse a monstrosity and said he filed a complaint after asking the family to build the fort on the ground, The Record newspaper reported.
The town considers the tree fort a secondary structure, which requires permits and height regulations, Tenebruso said, adding that she had called the borough and was told there are no laws covering treehouses, Putney reported.
“We need to insure it and we may need to go for a variance,” Tenebruso said. “They’re treating it as a secondary structure which has a 15-foot height limit and the treehouse is 19-feet, but in order to have a treehouse it has to be built enough off the ground so you could walk underneath it and not bump your head and it also has to be tall enough so you can stand inside.”
The situation is also complicated by the fact that the treehouse was built on wetlands that aren’t owned by the family.
Tenebruso has hired an attorney to avoid paying a $500 fine and a court hearing will be held over the fate of the structure Thursday afternoon.
“We just want to keep the treehouse,” Tenebruso said.
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