Naugatuck, Conn. tells family to take down tree house

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September 10, 2012, 5:12 pm
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(NECN: Brian Burnell, Naugatuck, Conn.) – For a lot of kids, having a tree house can be fun, but the fun is over in one Connecticut town.

Leaders in Naugatuck, Conn. are telling one family their backyard play-spot needs to be taken down.

The parents are trying to figure out their next step.

Mike Bronko is a builder, so when he built a tree house for his 11-year-old son in the woods behind his home in Naugatuck he built it right. It’s not opulent, but it is sturdy. And he thought it was legal because a couple of years ago he went to the town building department and zoning board to ask.

"They said they don't regulate tree houses so they said it wouldn't be an issue," says Bronko.

But then a neighbor complained and it became an issue. Zoning regulations don't apply to tree houses, but the borough attorney told the zoning board if it’s not in the regulations it should be illegal.  

Bronko’s been ordered to take it down. His other neighbor thinks it's a shame.
"It's a tree fort. It's what kids build when they're younger. Growing up I had a tree fort. Everyone you know has a tree fort when you're growing up years ago. It's a shame. It really is. They're kids just wanting to play," says Steve Levine, Bronko’s other neighbor.

This also raises a bigger question. If this tree fort is illegal, is every tree fort in Nagatuck illegal?

"I think that the ZEO (That's Zoning Enforcement Officer acts on complaints so if he didn't get a complaint he might not take action but I might make it my business to make some complaints because and stir some people up.  And that would stir people up because kids build tree houses. That's the way it is.  I would say so.  Not only kids but adults for the kids."

So, Bronko is going to appeal. Is he optimistic? Is he pessimistic? All he can say is, you never know.  

Tags: Brian Burnell, naugatuck connecticut, mike bronko, tree house, zoning board, zoning enforcement officer, steve levine
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