$195-a-night treehouse might prompt new rules in Schaumburg
Thanks to the unexpected ambition of one homeowner, all other Schaumburg residents may soon need village permission to build treehouses in their backyards, the same as if they were building additions to their homes.
The village's planning, building and development committee Thursday recommended a number of regulations regarding treehouses, including keeping them under 100 square feet.
The action was prompted by the recent discovery of resident Dan Alexander's 7-year-old treehouse on Winchester Lane that exceeds that size and is marketed online as a romantic garden getaway for $195 a night.
Alexander's treehouse includes such features as a full-size bed, high-definition cable TV, a kitchenette, a fireplace, air-conditioning and an RV-type toilet in a tent on the outside deck.
While the village hasn't heard of anyone thinking about mimicking Alexander's project, the new regulations are intended to keep it that way.
The $15 building permit fee isn't seen as a money-maker for the village but simply a means to start a dialogue with homeowners about their intentions for any treehouse, Community Development Director Julie Fitzgerald said.
At Thursday's committee meeting, Trustee Frank Kozak questioned whether Alexander was illegally operating a business on his property.
"This thing that this guy has is not a treehouse," Kozak said. "Who's kidding who?"
The village staff told Kozak that Alexander was carefully operating within the parameters of the law. He is permitted to rent a room of his house and allow renters use of the treehouse amenity.
"As long as this never happens again, this is good," Kozak conceded.
But Alexander's treehouse will be grandfathered in as a permitted use, making the proposed regulations the only true business before the committee Thursday.
"I'd like to keep the discussion to this (proposal) rather than the one that got away," said Trustee Jack Sullivan, who chairs the committee.
The committee's recommendation will be considered by the full village board at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 12, before likely being referred to the zoning board of appeals to research the proposal further.