Legal Fight Over 8-Year-Old Girl's Treehouse - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Legal Fight Over 8-Year-Old Girl's Treehouse

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Photo Courtesy: NBC News Photo Courtesy: NBC News

NBCNEWS.COM - An 8-year-old New Jersey girl's treehouse might have to be torn down after a neighbor has complained that it violates city laws. Katie Tenebruso's family built the 19-foot-tall treehouse as a birthday present last summer. It cost $6,000 to build, and features swings, windows and a staircase.  "I don't like being in the house all the time, I like being outside more," Katie said. Her mother, Paula Tenebruso, says she researched the town's laws before the work began on the structure. "I called the town and asked if there were laws governing treehouses and I was told 'No,' so we went ahead and built it," she said.  

After a neighbor complained, the family was in court Thursday, arguing to keep the structure.   They will need a variance to bypass Emerson town laws that require sheds and other auxiliary structures to stand no taller than 15 feet. The family will also need proof of insurance to keep the playhouse.  

No decision was made Thursday — the family applied for a zoning permit and will be back in court next month. Several other neighbors have written letters on the family's behalf, saying they like the treehouse and want it to stay.  

Some of them argue that it's healthy to promote outdoor play instead of electronics. "The kids have a ball in there, I don't understand what the big deal is," said neighbor Marci Piserchia.

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