Mark Grapin of Fairfax County, Va., says his local building department laughed him off the phone when he asked if he needed a permit to build a tree house for his sons. It was only after Grapin spent $1,400 and six weekends building the arboreal hideaway that a county inspector — tipped off by complaining neighbors — decided the tree house violated local zoning laws. Grapin spent $1,800 seeking a zoning variance, only to be denied. Now, he might have to tear the tree house down. "I don't have the heart for it," Grapin says. "I'm gonna go pay some day laborers and hide... while they take a saw to it."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Christians have no moral rationale for spanking their children
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
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- 10 things you need to know today: September 23, 2014
- 4 simple steaks you can cook in a pan
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- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- Does solar energy have a battery problem?
- Should you hope to die at 75? Absolutely not.
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