A father in Ogden City, Utah, was forced to take down a cardboard fort he made for his children after officials deemed it a violation of a waste materials code.
Jeremy Trentelman spent last week building a giant cardboard fort with his 2-year-old and 3-year-old children in the family’s front yard. “We all had a blast putting it together and we’ve had tons of fun with it since,” he said.
Trentelman said he wasn’t concerned a bit that he might be violating city codes, but somebody apparently was. On Wednesday, Trentelman came home from work to find a letter on his door stating that he was in violation of Ogden City’s code, 12-4-2. The code prohibits junk, waste materials and abandoned vehicles from being kept on properties.
The letter stated that Trentelman had 15 days to remove the fort from his lawn or he would be forced to pay $125, with more fines and legal action possible if he failed to take it down during the allotted time. Code Enforcement Officer Gordon Sant issued the notice. “I’m going to send him a letter, but I haven’t been able to get myself calmed down enough about it to do it,” Trentelman said.
The frustrated father said he’s not sure if somebody called and complained, or if Sant was driving by and noticed the fort, but he admitted to seeing code enforcement officials in his neighborhood before. For this reason, he’s kept his complaints to a minimum so far, except on the Internet. Response throughout social media was overwhelmingly supportive. “It’s obvious it’s not junk,” he said. “There is a slide over the side and child graffiti all over the boxes. It looks like a fort.”
“I just thought it was an awesome way to use boxes and my kids’ imagination,” he added. Trentelman said he intends to use the fort to its fullest potential in the time he has left with it — repairing any parts that become damaged and even adding more to it. “It probably wouldn’t have lasted more than 15 days but you better believe it will be up until day 14,” he said.
Trentelman said that he’s “confused and irritated” by the citation, but is not “genuinely mad.” He said he’s confident that there are city officials that would support him if they knew of the situation, and hopes that word can spread quickly enough for that to be possible. “I’m just hoping this can get seen by the right people,” he said. “Apparently my box fort is a nuisance or Mr. Sant is a killjoy.”