Battle continues over treehouse that officials claim violates Babylon building codes

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The ongoing battle over a suburban treehouse in Babylon could be moving toward resolution. A federal judge in Central Islip ordered John Lepper to get a survey and engineering report for a treehouse he built for his two children that town officials deemed illegal, Newsday reported. When Lepper, a New York City firefighter, began building the treehouse in his family’s backyard, he filed a building permit application that he said was accepted by a clerk with the local building department. But Lepper didn’t file a required engineer’s report or survey and wasn’t issued a building permit. Officials then fined Lepper and ordered him to demolish the treehouse, but Lepper refused, paying $475 in fines and disputing the order. Town code dictates that playgrounds and gyms of more than 90 square feet need permits, but Lepper claims the treehouse does not qualify because it’s only 86 square feet. While a judge disagreed, Lepper is appealing on First Amendment grounds and plans to get both the survey and engineer’s report within two weeks. [Newsday]