Virginia Girl Could Lose Birthday Present Treehouse Due to Zoning

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A Northern Virginia family is seeking the community’s support to try to save a treehouse built as a 9-year-old girl’s birthday present.

The family recently learned the treehouse violates zoning rules because the treehouse is in the front yard, and if they don’t win special permission, it will have to come down. 

Ana Dapoignay asked for it before her birthday in May. Her dad is a contractor and saw a tree in the front yard of their Annandale home as perfect for the task. 

“The shape or the fact that its full branches coming out,” Erwan Dapoignay said.

Ana says she and her sister have loved having the oasis from pandemic boredom. So do other kids in the neighborhood. 

“I just usually come up here and like sit in one of these chairs, and then usually I sometimes bring up my book and read,” Ana said. “And sometimes I even, like, have lunch up here with my sister.”

A few weeks ago, Fairfax County sent a letter telling them about the zoning violation.

“When I heard we that might have to take it down, it was just really, really, really sad for me since it was my birthday present,” Ana said.

The notice offered three choices: take the treehouse down, move it to the backyard, which the family says isn’t practical, or get a special permit which will cost $1,000. 

They’ve decided to seek the special permit and launched a petition drive to let treehouse lovers show their support.

“The idea is, really, to tell the county all the neighborhood love the treehouse,” Ana’s father said. “We have the support of the community.”

They hope once county officials get the full picture, they’ll grant the permit.

“We hope that everybody will understand that this was a joy, it was a labor of love, it was a present to a 9-year-old, and we hope everybody can see it the way we see it and our friends and neighbors see it,” said Ana’s mom, Sandra Lukic-Dapoignay. 

The family must turn in paperwork to the county by Oct. 29. 

They don’t know who complained about their treehouse to the county. 

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