SELINSGROVE — They say if you stick around long enough you will see everything, including the day when a story about a child’s tree house is the top story on the news. But this is a community controversy that may now be heading to court!
Samantha Carlson played inside the tree house her father started building for her. The 11-year-old and her friends planned to have puppet shows inside the tree house, which is outside her house in Selinsgrove.
“We took turns climbing up here and stuff. We had a lot of fun while they were building it,” Samantha said.
“She wanted a tree house for her birthday. My husband served 22 years in the military and wasn’t always around in the beginning so he wanted to give his daughter a tree house,” Faye Carlson said.
One week after Samantha’s father started building the tree house, he got a letter from borough zoning officials. The tree house had code violations and had to be taken down within 30 days.
“Once we got the letter, it was kind of disappointing because I thought this would be a lot of fun. But it has to be taken down,” Samantha said.
The Carlson’s lost their case when the entire zoning board voted the tree house must go.
The zoning board says the tree house violated the zoning ordinance because it is located on the front lawn of a lot that does not accommodate its size. The Carlsons say they built the tree house here because it is the only tree on their property.
“I was really upset. I actually didn’t come out of my room for a little bit because it was sad. I came out eventually and ate some ice cream so it was fine,” Samantha said.
The Carlson family says they received a lot of support for the tree house. Hundreds of people signed a petition.
“I’ve had strangers stop by and knock on the door on Saturdays during the weekends, asking us what’s going on with the tree house,” Faye said.
More than a dozen neighbors, including Karol Scartelli showed up at the zoning board meeting to show support.
“We’ve been in support of this project since it started,” Scartelli said.
The Carlsons say they will appeal the zoning board’s decision.