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Where's justice in treehouse case?


A child is seriously ill. His loving parents hire a contractor to build him a "cottage," a treehouse, in their back yard. My heart goes out to them.

Unfortunately, Mom and Dad failed to obtain the required "construction permit" from their "local governing board." The governing board tells Mom and Dad several times to have the structure lowered to a height that would bring it into compliance _ an added expense. The board's requirements are not met and it eventually arrives at the threshold of legal enforcement of its "code" requirements.

Mom and Dad's "problem" gets the attention of the free press. The press, kept ignorant of the manner in which the shy board had been handling the matter, attracts (intentionally or not) a massive school of red herrings. The "villain" is flushed out and gradually the whole story emerges. And the stoned and bloodied board eventually gives up a perfectly reasonable position.

Please help me understand the "medically necessary" resolution. The Tampa Palms Owners Association was fulfilling its responsibility in a manner consistent with its mandate. TPOA did not seek to take anything from Mom and Dad _ or the sick child. Indeed, when the issue reached the body politic, a Good Samaritan offered to shoulder Mom and Dad's burden (the added expense) to lower the tree house _ removing the only real obstacle to compliance. I read that the offer was never accepted.

But TPOA, reeling from the concussive public pressure, agreed to a "medical necessity" letter from the boy's physician _ a "special exception" that ostensibly would not jeopardize future enforcement of the "code" violation. And the treehouse remains "illegal." I have but one simple question. Exactly how is the height of the treehouse "medically necessary"?

In the final analysis, after removing all the red herrings, it's not difficult to see the merit of the central issue. And the real villain surfaces _ a body politic gone awry during a half-blind feeding frenzy which led to a half-baked resolution driven more by "business necessity" than what is truly reasonable "and justice for all."

Henry Hower

Tampa Palms