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
- Why all drugs should be legal. (Yes, even heroin.)
- 7 ideas from ancient thinkers that will improve your modern life
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- Why you should really take a nap this afternoon, according to science
- Blame Obama and U.S. evangelicals for the persecution of Iraqi Christians
- The forgotten victims of the war in Ukraine
- The big, gaping hole in the liberal policy arsenal
- Are there too many good shows on television?
- The weird obsession that's ruining the GOP
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