Neighbors feuding over treehouse in Capitol Hill

- A treehouse is fueling a neighborhood feud in Washington D.C. The wooded structure is along an alley in a historic Capitol Hill neighborhood.

This is far from your typical treehouse. Beyond the aesthetics, neighbors said it is invading public property and the rules are the rules.

The dispute has gotten so bad, neighbors are barely talking to each other.

Ellen Psychas did not want to say much when we asked her about the castle-shaped treehouse that is nestled in the front yard of her Southeast D.C. home. She told us to “talk to the grumpy neighbors. They’ll give you lots of statements.”

Neighbors said Psychas owns the home, but does not currently live there.

The treehouse is causing commotion because the structure seeps onto public property. A neighbor complained to Matthew Marcou at the District Department of transportation.

“An inspector went out and confirmed that a portion of it was on public space and the property owner was directed to come to our office to apply for a permit,” said Marcou.

He added, “This will be the first treehouse to the best of my knowledge that will ever be heard by the Public Space Committee.

At the center of the controversy is the treehouse's 20 inches hovering over a public alleyway. The District said the treehouse’s owners must apply for a permit to have their private property in public space.

“The Public Space Committee could approve the application, it could approve the application with a condition, it could deny the application or it could table the application pending further information,” said Marcou.

The treehouse's fate could be determined at a Public Space Committee meeting on Jan. 28.

The treehouse’s owners reportedly did get a permit from the city, but it was apparently the wrong one. That permit was approved for a balcony. That is also under review.

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