Luxury treehouse would be last one if Schaumburg plan passes

  • Dan Alexander's luxury treehouse in Schaumburg has inspired proposed regulations for the construction of all treehouses in the village.

      Dan Alexander's luxury treehouse in Schaumburg has inspired proposed regulations for the construction of all treehouses in the village. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Dan Alexander's treehouse in Schaumburg features cable, air-conditioning, a bed and kitchenette.

      Dan Alexander's treehouse in Schaumburg features cable, air-conditioning, a bed and kitchenette. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 6/11/2015 6:58 AM

An elaborately luxurious treehouse in Schaumburg is closer to having its uniqueness guaranteed. The village's zoning board on Wednesday recommended approval of proposed regulations on the building of such structures.

In the absence of such guidelines, resident Dan Alexander was able to build a 112-square-foot treehouse in his backyard that includes 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's proposed regulations would curb the size, height and number of treehouses on a residential property, zoning board Member Glenn Szurgot asked whether anything could be done to limit the amenities Alexander was able to squeeze into his.

Schaumburg Planning and Permits Manager Tom Farace said the village staff did not make Alexander's treehouse their model in seeking reasonable rules for others to follow.

"That's an extreme example," Farace said. "I don't know how many treehouses would have a TV and a refrigerator inside them, quite frankly."

And trying to crack down on such amenities would be tricky to enforce, Farace added. All residents are allowed to watch TV in their backyards, for instance.

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One proposed regulation that was changed during Wednesday's zoning board meeting, however, was the height limitation. Instead of saying that the bottom of a treehouse could be no more than 25 feet from the ground, zoning board members preferred to say that the top could be no more than 28 feet high.

Other proposed rules would limit the size of treehouses to less than 100 square feet in area, require them to be at least 10 feet from a property line, and restricted them to backyards.

Perhaps the most important regulation, though, was that all treehouses would require a building permit, Farace said. This would ensure that members of the village staff have a chance to hear and ask about residents' intentions.

"We're trying to make sure the treehouse is a treehouse," Farace said.

Any variations from the new rules would have to go before the village's plan commission for a recommendation.

The proposed rules will return to the village board for final vote on June 23.

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