Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Community News Network

June 7, 2013

Pa. zoning board orders removal of young girl's tree house

SELINSGROVE, Pa. — Tears streamed down 11-year-old Samantha Carlson’s cheeks after the Selinsgrove, Pa. Zoning Hearing Board denied a variance request on Thursday night that would have allowed her father to keep the tree house he was building for his daughter’s birthday.

The five-member zoning board ruled unanimously that the tree house violated a borough ordinance and that it had to be razed.

Upon hearing the vote, Samantha’s father, a visibly upset John “J.C.” Carlson, said: “After serving 22 years in the military and thinking I’ve seen everything, tonight proved me absolutely wrong. I’ve never in my life seen anyone deny a child a tree house.”

For more than an hour, the Carlsons, represented by attorney Joel Wiest, and about 14 friends and neighbors, attempted to persuade the board that the family should be granted a variance, and allowed to continue to build an 8-foot by 6-foot wooden structure on a tree stump in the front yard of the Carlsons’ home.

Wiest opened the hearing by conceding that the tree house could be classified as an “accessory structure” on Carlson’s property.

“What we are asking for this evening is a variance from that portion of your borough code, which states that the setback for a structure in this zoned area is 35 feet. We are asking for a variance from that requirement.”

One by one, neighbors stood up and testified under oath that having the tree house in the neighborhood would not detract from the essence of the neighborhood.

Neighbor George Pence said he collected a petition signed by 20 neighbors saying “Let them build the tree house.”

Another neighbor, Carol Scartelli, said: “I am thrilled at the project. It is something Mark Twain would do.”

Terry Sprenkle attested to the family’s character.

“They are good people, a good Christian family and it is how they are raising their daughter,” she said. “This shouldn’t be a big deal. It’s only a temporary tree house. Let’s just let them have it.”

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

Biz Marquee
AP Video
Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii