ELLENTON, Fla. -- An Ellenton couple built a playhouse for their daughter in April. Within a few days, a neighbor complained to the county, and now it's a full-blown zoning dispute.
The parents tell 10 News the county misinformed them and say now their daughter might have to pay the price for the county's mistake.
“Layla makes the best tea,” says Jayson Przybyla as his daughter serves him on the front porch of her playhouse.
Przybyla spent $5,000 and 3 months building it himself for his 3 year-old daughter Layla.
He said, “It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears. I’m proud of it. My daughter loves it. We’re trying not to put her in front of the TV or video games instill playing outside.”
Layla has a place to color, read and play pretend. Down below there’s a swing set plus two slides, but something’s missing -- a permit.
“The county came out said we have to apply for a permit or tear it down,” said Jayson.
The playhouse isn’t the problem. Layla’s parents used an engineer recommended by the county and that engineer said this building is structurally sound.
The problem is where the playhouse is located. According to county zoning ordinance, any structure on a vacant lot has to have a permit.
“It’s extremely frustrating,” says Lauren Przybyla, Layla’s mother.
Before building it she said an attorney said they checked with the county.
She said, “We went to the county, provided the address the parcel where the playhouse is standing and were told no, you do not need a permit.”
The Przybylas own the lot separately from their home’s lot next door. The couple says the county gave them three options: tear it down, get a permit after moving it or join both lots.
The last option would cost more than $2,000 a year for flood insurance.
Lauren Przybyla said, “What angers me the most is we received the wrong information. In turn it affects the future of the playhouse and the life of our 3 year old.”
“It’s Christmas," Jayson Przybyla said. "Have a heart. It's not the time to be tearing down a child’s playhouse."
10News tried reaching Manatee County Code Enforcement officials but were told that would be difficult because they were “offsite at a retreat.”
Layla’s parents have until the end of January to make a decision, because that’s when the permit application expires. The county is not fining them for now.