Airman Battles Fairfax County To Keep Tree House | News
SPRINGFIELD, Va. (WUSA) -- It's happening again. A member of the Air Force built a tree house for his sons and now he's battling Fairfax County to keep it.
Airman Phillip Blevins spent thousands of dollars building the tree house before he deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom. As soon as he got overseas, his family got a letter. The county said he built it too close to the property line.
They want him to move it or make it lower. Blevins says that's a bad idea.
"It's attached to four live trees. I don't think I could move it myself, or relocate it. Regardless of what we'll do, I'd say we'll lose four trees and most likely lose the functionality of the tree house," Blevins said.
Mark Grapin ran into similar problems in Fairfax County. He built his tree house in his side yard. Last month the zoning board ruled that he could keep the tree house for five years.
Blevins said he doesn't want to move the tree house. He's planning to get a lawyer.
Statement from Fairfax County:
"We have the greatest respect for the men and women who serve our country in the military.
Unfortunately, Mr. and Mrs. Blevins' tree house doesn't currently meet what's legally allowed. The County took action based on a complaint, and Fairfax County's zoning inspectors must follow the law as it is written. Although the application of zoning laws in certain situations may seem unreasonable to some people, these rules are intended to protect everyone's quality of life.
To follow the law, the tree house does not need to be torn down. It can stay in its current location if it is lowered to a height of seven feet or less. Or, the tree house can be moved to another location in the yard that meets zoning rules.
The county notified Mr. and Mrs. Blevins six months ago about the violation related to the tree house. County attempts to work this out outside the court system have not been successful."