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California man told by city to take down treehouse on his property after anonymous tip

A Folsom, California, man is being forced to take down a treehouse he built for his children because it allegedly violates a city ordinance. (Image source: KOVR-TV video screenshot)

A father in Folsom, California, said he has dreamed of building a treehouse for his children for a long time. Now that he's achieved that dream, however, the city is trying to take it all away, KOVR-TV reported.

Brian Esola constructed a roomy two-story treehouse for his kids to play in and use as a study area. His neighbors were OK with it, but someone reported him to the city, which told him to take it down.

“We received this notice from the city, and we were violating code, the accessory structure code,” Esola told KOVR.

What's the problem?

Esola, knowing that his project would create a dramatic change to his property, consulted with his neighbors before getting started on the treehouse. He even checked with them multiple times throughout the construction to make sure they still approved.

“As I’m building it, I check back with them again, I say ‘Is it OK,’ they say ‘Yeah it’s looking great!" Esola said.

Esola did not, however, check with the city, and now he's in a position where he may be forced to undo all his work.

While his neighbors said they were OK with the treehouse, someone submitted an anonymous photo tip to the city about it, and that's when they informed Esola he was in violation of city code.

According to a city of Folsom ordinance, "accessory buildings must be at least five feet from the property line and eight feet from the home, and no more than fifteen feet tall.”

What can be done about this?

Esola is fighting back against the ordinance, and fighting for the right to maintain the treehouse on his property. He said the ordinance defining "accessory buildings" wasn't clear, so he wants to make a change.

“I’m proposing we create a new ordinance that governs tree houses in the city of Folsom," Esola said.

The city council told him Tuesday night at a meeting that he needed to take the treehouse down, then he could appeal afterward. The situation is still ongoing.

One last thing…
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