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Friday, May 6, 2016

Treehouse remains -- for now

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gracie and Eli Shackelford designed this sign in an effort to save their treehouse.
"We want to do what the commission says because we don't want to break the law," Melissa Shackelford told the Highland Planing and Zoning Commission at the meeting held March 2. "But, we want you to know we are taking the necessary precautions to keep the kids safe."

The Shackelfords built their children a treehouse in their front yard. According to the couple, the treehouse was an ongoing project that they worked on as they had time and materials.

Melissa said she wanted the treehouse in the front yard because it is fenced in and that is where she can watch the children closely. But, the city of Highland disagreed with the placement of the treehouse stating that it violates building codes.

Ralph Sharp, Highland's code enforcement officer stated, in a letter written to the Shackelfords, that the treehouse was not in compliance with the building requirements in the city.

"Mr. Sharp told us during construction that as long as he didn't receive any complaints it (the treehouse) would be fine," Shackelford said. "We didn't think we needed a permit because we weren't building on to our house or building a permanent structure."

The commission said the treehouse is in violation because it is not 25 feet from the road on both sides. "I don't want the treehouse to be torn down," planning and zoning commissioner Jack Kimbrell said. He continued by saying if it is in violation then action has to be taken.

"I take offense to this because we (Highland) don't have anything for the kids to do, I think an imagination is great," commissioner Larry Allen said. "I think it (the treehouse) should be allowed to exist."

"I wish you could hear them playing in it (the treehouse), it's a castle, it's a spaceship, it's a UFO," Melissa said. "You always hear about how kids today are corrupted by video games and TV, but my kids love to get off of the bus and play in their treehouse."

Melissa also told the commission that she feels the letter she received was offensive in calling the treehouse an eyesore. "There are a lot of things I would consider an eyesore in Highland," she said. "Who is to say what is an eyesore?"

The commissioners agreed that this was not an issue of an eyesore, but of a code violation. After much discussion they voted to continue the subject until they could speak with the city attorney.

"We will speak with the city attorney and see if we can make a variance in this situation," commissioner Richard Smith said. "I don't think anyone wants to see the treehouse torn down."

Shackelford said since the issue has been made public several people have offered their support. "We have people approaching us offering to sign a petition, pickett whatever they have to do for us to keep our treehouse," she said. "We appreciate all of the support, and depending on what happens, we might need it."

The treehouse will be discussed again and voted on during the April Planning and Zoning meeting. Until that date the treehouse is safe.

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they have the power to give a variance. so give it and stop the silly whinning.

-- Posted by troutman on Thu, Mar 12, 2009, at 1:24 PM

-- Posted by she-mouth of the south on Fri, Mar 13, 2009, at 5:31 PM

For crying out loud, what is wrong with the Highland Planning and Zoning Commission? Weren't you people ever kids? As a society we moan and groan that the youth of today have turned into couch potatoes and video game freaks, yet you don't want them to play outside in the sunshine either! Highland sounds like its going to turn into another Cherokee Village, a town full of bitter old buzzards that want you to get a permit to pass gas in your own house! I, for one, would be ashamed to deny these kids their playhouse, that's just not right! Good luck to the Shackelford's, and congratulations on making your children's childhood fun, that's exactly the way it should be!

-- Posted by she-mouth of the south on Fri, Mar 13, 2009, at 5:39 PM

-- Posted by she-mouth of the south on Fri, Mar 13, 2009, at 6:06 PM


I for one am tired of the Hardy area being turned in to a "yankee enviroment". If an individual wants to build something on the property they bought and paid for; that is their business and only their business. Especially for their kids. If a tree is not 25 feet from whatever; do you expect them to grow another tree? They bought it and it is theirs. If you want to live in an area controlled by the local government to the degree where fees are assessed and inspections are required on your every movement; I respectfully suggest you move back up north. That is what you moved away from.

Further, I am amazed that the community would actually spend time and money having meetings and consulting attorneys over a treehouse. The bigger picture is local government control over your private property. Is that really what you want your community and your lives to be like? Do you really want to have to ask permission to do something nice for your kids?

-- Posted by HardyBoy on Thu, Mar 19, 2009, at 12:08 PM


As I was reading the article about the parents who built their little children a tree house only to be threatened by city government that it didn't meet their specs, and would possibly have to be torn down; I had the feeling that we must be living in Russia or Iran! What is wrong with this picture? These parents aren't beating their children, they aren't neglecting them, they aren't molesting them, they aren't hurting anyone! No, they are trying to let their children be kids, make memories, and possibly dream a little bit. At the present time we are facing war on every front, poverty, an economic meltdown, jobless rates that we haven't experienced in decades, terrorism, high crime rates, a war against drugs, and all the Highland Council can do is pick on children and their little treehouse.

WOW, the Highland City Council sure are busy taking care of business; creating ordinances and inforcing ordinances, Aren't they important! At least they think they are! Must make them feel good to bully children.

Can you imagine what these little children are thinking? Thanks to the City Council, they will have a negative life experience concerning the government. They must be wondering what they did wrong? I don't know how old these children are, but I read this story to my 10 year old grand-daughter to get a childs veiw of it. When I finished reading the story she looked are me and said, "Granny are they going to put the kids in jail or the parents?" WOW! Out of the mouth of babes! I can't help but wonder-DO THESE CHILDREN THINK THEY ARE IN TROUBLE AND POSSIBLY GOING TO GO TO JAIL? Shame on the busy bodies that call themselves our elected officials. Don't you wonder if they ever had any common sense?

I have a suggestion for all who are registered to vote in this area, Make sure you tear down your elected officials playhouse when it comes election time. One more bit of free advise, if you aren't registered to vote, make it a priority to get registered. It is high time we protect our rights to live in a FREE NATION!

God Bless America and God Bless the Little Children who seem to be trampled on because they don't have the right to vote.

I pray these elected officials get back to real work and stop wasteing OUR tax dollars to bully American Citizens. If this is all they have to discuss at their meetings, it is not worth the electricity it takes to light their meeting place, much less their pay to be there!

-- Posted by tsellers on Fri, Mar 20, 2009, at 10:53 AM

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