ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Many childhood dreams don’t last. We quickly realize the odds of becoming a princess or fighting a dragon are slim. One dream, however, seems to stick in the minds of adults and children alike: building a treehouse.
Is it legal to build one in Illinois? There are plenty of examples in the state, but are they at risk of being torn down?
Yes — if the owner isn’t careful.
Building a treehouse is legal in Illinois. Moreover, a building permit is not needed to build a treehouse in most Illinois towns, provided the structure adheres to certain requirements.
Many zoning ordinances and building codes in Illinois require strict adherence to prevent a treehouse from being taken down.
Ordinances vary by town, but some common restrictions are as followed:
Height: In most cases, a treehouse can only be 12-15 feet in height from adjacent grade to the highest point of the structure (typically the top of the roof).
Size: A tree house larger than 120 sq feet is likely to require permits.
Location: Tree house building is usually restricted to the backyard, 6-10 feet from the property line.
Accessories: Adding an electricity or water supply to a treehouse likely changes its classification and subjects it to stricter regulations.
In addition to checking your town’s rules, you may want to run your treehouse aspirations past your neighbors. A Palatine, Illinois family had their permits denied after neighborhood complaints.