Falls Church tree house can stay with conditions, zoning board says

      Fairfax County officials ruled Wednesday that Grapin's tree house can stay, with conditions. (Photo: Autria Godfrey/WJLA)

      The tree house can stay.

      The Fairfax County Zoning Board ruled Wednesday morning that Marc Grapin, a Falls Church resident and Iraq war veteran, can keep the tree house he built for his two sons in the front yard of his home.

      Grapin and more than a dozen supporters delivered a petition that more than 1,500 people signed in support of the tree house, which he built for his sons to fulfill a promise he made before he was deployed.

      The zoning board voted to approve a variance, which means the tree house, which is in Grapin's front yard, can stay, provided he meets certain criteria.

      That criteria includes a time limit for how long the tree house can stay - five years or if and when he moves - and an order that the plants that have grown around the tree must stay.

      Grapin spent $1,400 and six weeks building the tree house, but someone registered an anonymous complaint about it in October. At that point, Fairfax County said the 10-by-10 foot structure had to come down.

      The order was given despite the fact that a county official gave him the go-ahead to build it.