Treehouse too posh for county building code


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What’s worse this America or 'Muerica America?

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How dare they build something on their private property without governmental approval!


I’m finding it difficult to be too upset at the Californian officials - once your treehouse has a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, air conditioning, plumbing, lighting, electricity etc., it’s not that different from building a structure on the ground and it’s obviously more than a playhouse. You get the same in German allotments - you see some really nice-looking wooden buildings as people like to spend their weekends there, but you’re not allowed to make it possible to actually move in.


Two guesthouses and you’re starting to build a subdivision.


It’s declared as a playhouse so it is a playhouse. Who says a playhouse cannot have a play-kitchen and a play-TV? Some faceless bureaucrat who doesn’t even know what end of a hammer is the business one?

Why not? In case of need, any place suitable to live in should be possible to live in. When trouble set in, it’s time to survive (or to loan the place to a friend for couple days to months or more) without having to beg for a permit.

While it is a posh treehouse, it was constructed for a TV program, presumably by a team of builders using a lavish budget in order to sell more soap.

Definitely a moment where caring or being impressed is a DIY project.


OMG that totally means you would let them build an unstable nuclear pile in their back garden.
Admit it! You want to poison all of humanity with radioactive waste!!!


You got me all wrong. Biological agents are more my thing.


Well then, I must tip my hat to you. I just so happen to be astro-turfing for big pharma right now so I must commend your free spirited and entrepreneurial endeavour to explore the rich world of lethal biological agents in the interests of humanity. Bravo!

I am sure that even in California bureaucrats have faces. Knowing which end of a hammer was the business one is irrelevant (am I pulling nails or hammering them in? Even the handle of the hammer appears to be needed for the “business” of holding it) but one could contend that the owners of the property who hired someone to build the treehouse may or may not know the business end either. That episode of Treehouse Master really seemed to emphasize the working candy kitchen purpose for the “playhouse”.

I am getting the impression from your comments that you have a preference for a different balance of rights between private property owners and the good of the community than those reflected in the current county building codes which attempt to balance the two.


Okay. How does a candy kitchen in a private tree house on private land impair the “good of the community”?

How does sticking to the agreement with the town hurt the homeowner? Or is that, conveniently, a one way street just now?

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By not being able to have a posh treehouse, for example.

I ask about an actual harm that is done here, not about some nobody-is-hurt-or-even-inconvenienced important-rule violation that deserves lighting the bureausignal and calling the paperwork defense superheroes.

And yes, I’ll prefer living in the relative anarchy of unlicensed lemonade stands and code-violating treehouses over a world where everybody just blindly obeys every rule The Bureaucrat comes up with.

Regardless of the law and the bureaucrats, I certainly would not want a kitchen high up in a TREE. Leaves and branches do have a tendency to catch on fire. And, with the tree on fire, a safe exit may be just a little bit difficult.

I’m surprised “acclaimed treehouse builder Pete Nelson” had not considered such a possibility.

Why shouldn’t I be able to build a 3rd house on my private property? Would it be OK if I “sold” the portion of property containing the guesthouse to my partner so that I no longer had too many dwellings on one lot?

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Think of utilities as an easy example. Water mains, sewer, gas and electrical lines…all put in based on a certain amount of properties for the area. If one utility-using property becomes three, maybe the affect on others won’t be noticeable, but if one owner gets to do it, then others will too, and next thing you know you’ve got additional delivery, maintenance, and improvement issues to deal with.

And what about the neighbors who bought their house based on a nice private yard area in relation to your house, only to find out there are now THREE houses all looking at his property from every angle so he has no privacy any more.

No one is an island…your actions affect others.


How much of utilities a posh playhouse consumes? If the number of personnel on the property is the same, or in case of migrating kids is the same even in average over the wider area, there is no change in the usage of the utilities. Argument does not hold water, like a rust-eaten rainwater drum.

Same can be said about kids climbing trees and looking, not even the most basic treehouse is needed. The neighbors can install a green fence, that’s what these are for.

Posh playhouses are fine - if they weren’t, the county wouldn’t have given them a licence for one in the first place. The restriction on the fully functional kitchen and bedroom was to make sure it doesn’t become another guest house in addition to the main house and the guest house they already had on the property. Once you have guest houses on your property, you can use them for that purpose and your utility usage increases according to how many extra people are living there. If it’s just a playhouse for the people who already live there, there won’t be any major difference, which is why there’s a difference in the code between accessory and residential purposes. California property is expensive, so I’m sure there would be people wanting to add more living spaces to theirs if “put it in a tree” was an effective loophole to the “no unlicensed living spaces” rule.

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