What started as a father-son treehouse project ended with the Palatine village council's declining to allow construction to resume for the out-of-compliance structure that triggered neighborhood complaints.
Village council members Monday night voted 5-1 against a special use and variances for the treehouse to go beyond a height limit on Whippoorwill Lane in the Hunting Ridge subdivision.
About 20 residents in the Hunting Ridge subdivision signed petitions or otherwise objected to the treehouse proposal. They contended the treehouse -- built on a 12-foot-by-12-foot platform and encroaching over a neighboring property -- would be an eyesore that would harm property values along Whippoorwill.
Officials said the treehouse complaints led village inspectors to halt construction on Palatine's southwest side after finding it was too big under local law and that no permits had been issued for the work that started last fall. The matter went before the advisory zoning board of appeals, which last month recommended the rejection agreed on by the village council.
Resident Matthew Ligda and his two young sons started the 19-foot-tall treehouse, which was four feet higher than allowed. Part of the idea was to have a bunk beds and desk space for the boys to do homework, according to a presentation to the advisory Palatine zoning pane last month.
Whippoorwill Lane resident Rick Larson represented several homeowners at Monday's meeting. He asked the village council to reject the treehouse request.
"I've walked in Hunting Ridge and driven Hunting Ridge," Larson said, "and there are no treehouses in Hunting Ridge. I also don't see any large structures like this that are directly visible from the street. as this one would be."
Councilman Tim Millar said the size and scope of the treehouse would have been too much for the neighborhood.
"I appreciate what they're trying to do with the treehouse and the kids involved," Millar said. "It's nice to see them learn how to use a hammer nowadays."
Councilman Scott Lamerand said what started as a nice father-son project "just began to take on a life of its own and got too far along."
Ligda did not attend Monday's meeting. He told the zoning board of appeals that he expected structural challenges if an attempt were made to reduce the treehouse by four feet to meet village code.
Ben Vyverberg, the village's director of building and zoning, said Ligda will have 30 days to dismantle the treehouse.