D.C. tree house to come down

D.C. tree house to come down (ABC7 photo)

A tree house that caused quit the stir in D.C. will be coming down, according to parent Ellen Psychas who owns the tree house. Thursday morning the DDOT Public Space Committee voted to revoke a permit to allow them to keep a castle tree house up at 516 Archibald Walk, S.E., because it was inhabiting public space, according to the owners. About half a dozen neighbors who lobbied for the tree house to come down were cheering and hugging when the decision was rendered, the owners said.

Ellen Psychas said her three and five year old daughters love playing in the tree house. She said her girls call it a "princess castle". Ever since its construction last summer, it has resulted in debate at ANC meetings, inspections by DDOT, FOIA requests and opposition by nearby residents, according to Psychas.

The family said they now expect to be given 60-90 days to remove personal property from public space.

"We are disappointed, but not surprised by the decision in a city without a niche for tree houses in the building code. Tree houses are still so unusual in D.C. that the code doesn't squarely address what is and isn't allowed, setting the stage for community conflicts like this one," the owners said in a statement.

The family now urges D.C. residents in support of tree houses to contact their City Council Member.

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