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
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why the Supreme Court is allowing Texas to hold an unconstitutional election
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
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- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Ban PowerPoint!
- Rise of the machines
- Why you should absolutely watch this confounding, wonderful World Series
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