An ambitious Pennsylvania teen who built a deluxe two-story treehouse in her front yard has been ordered to tear it down after a neighbor complained.
Elisa Truchan, 14, built the elevated fort in the front yard of her family’s home in Leet Township in February as part of a project for her eighth-grade class. The structure prompted a complaint, which was filed with the Township Council, and the family was ordered to take down the treehouse by October 1. The Council, in issuing the ban, cited local ordinances that ban structures from being built in front yards.
“At first, I thought it was a joke, but then I found out that it wasn’t,” Truchan said, according to local reports. “So, then I got really sad.”
Truchan finished the bi-level structure in February for a grade in one of her classes at Quaker Valley Middle School. The tiny house is made from untreated wood and has a clear roof for stargazing, sliding windows, a rope ladder and lock. The walls are adorned with Harry Potter-themed decorations.
“I was shocked because Elise put so much hard work into it,” Elise’s father Jonathan Truchan said to "Fox & Friends" on Monday. “After two months of building it in the snow…she worked so hard. We were broken-hearted for her.”
On March 25, Elise's family received a notice from an inspector at the Building Inspection Underwriters of Pennsylvania saying that treehouses are considered “accessory structures” which are not allowed in front yards. Truchan and her family built the tree fort in the front yard because they do not have space behind their home. The notice said that it needed to be dismantled in 15 days.
“[The] Treehouse is in violation of zoning ordinance 168,” read the citation. “Additionally, a building permit would be required for the ‘treehouse’… Please remove treehouse within 15 days to avoid citations.”
Truchan’s parents said they had no idea that the little building was a violation.
"We did a lot a research and everything we read said, especially in the building codes on the website of the township, nothing was said about a child’s playhouse,” Jonathan also said on "Fox & Friends." “Nothing for a treehouse. There were not zoning issues and no building permits. So, after reading those, she proceeded.”
The family was able to negotiate an extension and is able to keep the treehouse up until October 1.
Elise, who received a passing grade for her project, says she’s already thinking of new ideas for the materials after the house is dismantled.
“I maybe plan on burying it in my yard,” she said to "Fox & Friends" on Monday. “Maybe make something else with it.”