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 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why baseball is America's most dangerous spectator sport
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The elusive 'It factor' in presidential politics
- 10 things you need to know today: August 31, 2014
Subscribe to the Week