Playhouse no child's play for Manatee family at odds with county

By Angie Angers, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, December 05, 2017

A 3-year-old's dream playhouse is putting an Ellenton family at odds with some neighbors and Manatee County. 

  • Ellenton family built playhouse for daughter
  • Family says it took proper procedures before building; Manatee County says it did not
  • Manatee code enforcement says playhouse must be torn down or brought within code

The playhouse was built by Lauren and Jason Przybyla for their daughter on a lot the couple owns adjacent to their home. 

The Przybyla say they went through all the proper procedures when building the playhouse, which the county says now must be torn down - or brought within code.

Code Enforcement said a neighbor filed a complaint, reading in part..."This playhouse has not been permitted and is a hazard from wind in a hurricane. I am a state licensed contractor and am very concerned about the installation methods." 

The Przybylas said $5,000 went into the cost of the playhouse, not including the labor. 

"This is something that my husband built so my daughter can enjoy playing outside with neighborhood children," Lauren Przybyla said. "To encourage imagination." 

Then came the complaint. 

"When the violation was issued, they said 'you need a permit'," she said. "We advised that 'hey, we went down there and did our due diligence in who we spoke with' and they said 'well sorry, you need a permit even though you were told otherwise'. "

The county building and development services director said they looked into the issue and said it never gave permission to build without a permit. 

The complaint also said: "There is no protection from neighborhood kids climbing on this. It is like a pool without a fence." 

However, neighbor Mike Rosiek said he loves the playhouse. 

"My front window is right there," Rosiek said. "And even I don't have a problem with it! I even helped them put it up.... I think it's a darn nice treehouse for his daughter." 

The Przybylas hired a structural engineer who said the playouse is a sound structure. But the issue remains that beiong on a vacant lot means the palyhouse is a violation of county zoning ordinances. 

The county has given the family three choices: Join the two lots the family owns, move the playouse or tear it down. If they don't comply, they could face a $100-a-day fine. Joining the two lots would cost the family about an extra $2,000 a year in flood insurance.

"Taking down a child's playhouse?" asked Lauren Przybyla. "It's Christmastime, that's not what this should be about." 

The Przybylas continue to hope the county will work with them to find a solution.