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Folsom Dad Builds Tree House, City Says it Violates Code

FOLSOM (CBS13) — A Folsom dad built the ultimate tree house for his kids, in their backyard. Now, he will have to take it down.

The City of Folsom says it's too close to the property line. The City Council said on Tuesday night that the treehouse had to come down from the tree, then the father could appeal the construction process.

Brian Esola was hoping to put Folsom on the map and get the city to draft a tree house ordinance, which he says doesn't exist under current city code.

It's a two-story labor of love, perched between two trees in the backyard of the Esola home. It's been on his mind for as long as he can remember.

"Always kind of been a dream of mine to build a tree house for my kids, so I did," said Esola.

He built the tree house in January after consulting with all his neighbors. They gave him the green light to start chipping away.

It took Esola months to build the tree house for his kids, he even added a mailbox and porch light. His kids use it as a schoolhouse to do their homework while keeping a bird's-eye view on their parents.

"As I'm building it, I check back with them again, I say 'Is it OK,' they say 'Yeah it's looking great!"

But, the tree house caught someone's attention. After the city received an anonymous photo in June, Esola's 21-foot tree house was on the chopping block.

"We received this notice from the city, and we were violating code, the accessory structure code," Esola said.

The city sent CBS13 a statement, which reads in part:

"Accessory buildings must be at least five feet from the property line and eight feet from the home, and no more than fifteen feet tall."

But, Esola says the city's website doesn't clearly state what an "accessory building" is.

So, he's proposing a new plan:

"I'm proposing we create a new ordinance that governs tree houses in the City of Folsom."

It's a rare complaint, but Esola is hoping can pioneer a new movement for tree houses across the Sacramento region.

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