Playhouse outcome TBD

Thanks for all ideas/comments. Playhouse outcome TBD; will update the outcome next month.
Yes the, slab was existing for more than 30 years in the current location (present when we bought the home). COA didn’t care or even raise a flag through our entire home remodel & permitting process. And yes to those that asked… a neighbor reported the structure to the City otherwise it wouldn’t be an issue.
Live and Learn.

What an awesome playhouse!! I fully support your variance to keep this well designed, functional structure in your backyard. Good luck!

Can you elaborate on the situation with the City? Did someone turn you in or was it discovered by the city? Additionally, can you clarify if the slab was already in place when you purchased the home?


Jimmy McArthur

Long live the playhouse. I support.

Tony Giustino

Looks like a lovely play house! What’s the issue exactly with the set back?

I wish you luck in keeping your playhouse. I fully support you. And all 3 adults at my home support you. So put us down for 3 yays.

I’m sure you’ve already researched this a ton, but check into a couple of things -

You can have a shed (up to 200 sq ft for un-permitted one) in the setback. If it’s the “foundation” that’s the problem, which is probably what the neighborhood “code police” got it on, then have some one jack up the foundation and put down decomposed granite or other surface. You can do this by having a company jack up the structure a bit off the ground so you can make the “foundation” permissible.

Another words, perhaps there’s a way to make it permissible, a work around, if we know the exact code in violation. Would love to see you keep this. :slight_smile:

monica ghioc-brickley

Also, do you know how old the existing foundation is? I believe there’s a favorable case for variance here if you can prove it’s over a certain age and it’s always been in non-compliant and without complaints up until now. Can’t confirm but worth exploring perhaps.

monica ghioc-brickley

Right, that’s where I was headed as well, Monica. There could be a good case for this…

If you’d like to bring it up for a vote of support by the Friends of Zilker, we’re happy to do that as well if you can provide these additional details.



I would not be in favor if any of your neighbors feel as though your playhouse encroaches on their privacy.
Our neighbor built a multi-story play house two to three from our adjoining fence line. While theirs a good looking and top dollar structure, it towers over our back yard and eliminates all of our perceived privacy.


@StacyonNorris - I think it would be helpful if you could fill in some of the blanks. As many have intimated I think there could be a wide degree of support for this, but it sort of depends on the circumstances. @jjack2 mentioned in another forum that this type of thing is outside of the board of adjustments purview - something which is a much bigger issue and something which I disagree with as I think there should be a betterment clause.

@joanieg5 I do think people need to get over this idea of people looking in their backyard destroying their perception of privacy. Building up has so many advantages - it seems like this one is an acceptable sacrifice. We live in an urban neighborhood and tall structures should be a part of the landscape.

Hi Jimmy,

I can’t remember if I answered your questions already or not so I apologize if this is redundant. Yes, the neighbor behind us turned us into to the COA after the playhouse had been present for over a year and after our home was remodeled/permitted. The playhouse was completed prior to our remodel and all passed through impervious cover rules etc required by our home remodel code/permitting process. Basically, the playhouse is taking up the exact same footprint as the previous structure has for more than >40yrs. The concrete slab was in place with the old shed when we built the home. We built the playhouse on old shed’s footprint as the rest of the back yard is covered in beautiful oak trees and there was not another place to safely move it. It’s been a stressful learning process but hopefully it will have a happy ending for our kids and the trees.


The code violation is that the playhouse is within the new setback rules that didn’t exist when the original slab and shed was built over 40yrs ago. When we purchased the home we hoped to use the existing shed but it was not salvageable. Basically, the new shed/playhouse it is too close to the fence that separates us and the home behind us. This also happens to be the home owners that now appose the playhouse and turned us into the city. I wish it was as simple as just moving it a few feet forward or replacing the foundation but I don’t think either of those is an option. Hope this answers your questions.


Let me know if there are any other questions we can answer about our pending playhouse variance application. I answered a few more questions/emails on FOZ emails today. Our hearing with the city is Monday April 9. We received over 80% of the home owner signatures in support of the variance required within the 300’ radius of the playhouse that waived the application fee (which would have been ~$1700). I understand the city sent a letter to all residents within 500’ last week to allow comment on the variance as well. It seems to me the BofA must care somewhat about neighbor opinions even though the criteria for the variance do not state such? Ironically, the one neighbor that turned us in to the city is now moving which is great but we are still left with the potential to have to tear down our playhouse which would be heartbreaking for us. We and everyone else we have talked to that has seen the playhouse from both sides believes it actually increases privacy between our 2 homes (as the back of the playhouse has no windows) and their two story home is only setback by a pool with lots of windows on their top floor that give a plain view of our entire backyard. The same neighbor has made accusations that we are using the playhouse as an STR which is absolutely not true. It does have electricity and an a/c unit because otherwise in Texas it wouldn’t be safe for kids to play in but there is no plumbing or water to the playhouse. We have no plans to use at as anything other than it’s current use. Regardless, it’s been a long stressful conflict with said neighbor and I am ready to have it resolved.

We do feel that our reasons for utilizing the existing location of the slab was still in the best interest of the backyard trees and there was not a reasonable or better location to relocate it.

If you think having the FOZ support is a reasonable request and could be helpful please let me know.



My wife and I recently went through the BoA variance process and may be able to offer some advice. Feel free to contact me directly - We know how stressful it can be.