For all of the time and attention we devote to scrutinizing state and federal government, it’s easy to forget that local governments affect our lives much more directly, and not always for the good.

A small reminder of that comes out of Fairfax County, Virginia, where local officials have decided a child’s treehouse is a threat to local harmony, and several zoning ordinances:

According to the Dapoigny family, the county sent them a letter saying they need to pay a $913 fee and get special approval to keep the treehouse – or they will have to tear it down in 30 days.

Failure to comply “could result in court-ordered sanctions or civil penalties – $200 for the first citation and $500 for subsequent citations,” the Wakefield Weekly states. 

Erwan Dapoigny built the treehouse in May for his daughter Ana’s ninth birthday. 

“Kids used it for playdates and hangouts,” Sandra Lukic-Dapoigny writes on a petition. “All used it as a safe haven from COVID lockdown. The kids’ summer holiday was gone but the treehouse helped them still build happy 2020 memories.”

The most outlandish examples of government excess are often close to home – in our city halls and county offices.

Image Credit: By Cellofellow (Gadsden_flag.svg) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons