Mike Nestor has been an architect for more than 25 years. He and his wife Paula would like to build a treehouse for their son Brandon who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. But town officials aren’t letting them. Why?
Brandon’s treehouse will, of course, need to be wheelchair accessible. This necessitates that it be bigger than your typical treehouse. According to the town codes in West Springfield where the Nestors live, “accessory structures cannot be taller than the main house.” But Mike’s designs has the treehouse rising a full twenty three feet above their house’s first floor.
In response to the town officials’ decision, the Nestors are suing. They say that not allowing Brandon to have the larger than usual treehouse to accommodate his mobility needs violates the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as the Fair Housing Act.
The neighbors have sided with the Nestors. All around the neighborhood, other kids have been posting “Treehouse for Brandon” signs, some printed out, some hand drawn in crayons. Another neighbor created a Facebook page to raise support for Brandon’s treehouse.
And their efforts appear to be paying off. The town’s attorney William Reichelt was quoted in the Boston Globe saying, “This is a case where everyone is generally in favor in granting the variance... We are working on it and we are going to get him his treehouse. I promise.”