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Uproar Over Tree House Law Continues

August 26, 1986

LAKESIDE PARK, Ky. (AP) _ A zoning law that bans a 13-year-old boy’s tree house, as well as gazebos and children’s swing sets with roofs, has divided public opinion in this northern Kentucky city.

″I think the law should stand,″ Mary Elizabeth Pulskamp said at a city council hearing Monday night on the 10-year-old ordinance.

″I think we’re here telling you it’s time to change the law,″ said James Knadler.

The controversy erupted before Christmas, when 13-year-old Jeffrey Kisor learned that city officials wanted his tree house taken down.

His parents fought City Hall for seven months, at one point saying they would connect the tree house to their home by a trellis. They gave up the idea, though, as unsafe and expensive.

The law was aimed at sheds, garages, outside storage buildings, pool dressing rooms, gazebos and any other detached structure with a roof.

But under the city’s interpretation, even a doghouse is illegal unless it is attached to its owner’s house or principal structure, said William Schutte, the city’s part-time zoning administrator.

Schutte said he thinks it’s time for a change in the ordinance to allow for ″things that are assets to the City of Lakeside Park.″

Mayor Henry Mann told the gathering of about 175 that the public hearing was an opportunity to let council know ″what kind of city they want the city to be.″

The news media, Mann said, has painted a false but entertaining picture of a mayor of a small town who is against children. The real issue, he said, is whether the mayor shall uphold the laws that have existed for years.

In addition to the notice sent to the Kisor family about the tree house, Edith Connolly has received notice that her backyard gazebo is in violation, and Michael E. Keating was notified his children’s swing set with a roof has to come down.

Mann has said all three homeowners may apply to city Board of Adjustments for a variance to the ordinance to allow the prohibited uses.

The mayor said he did not know whether the ordinance would be put on the agenda for the city council’s Sept. 8 meeting.

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