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Utah woman puts car in tree, city says 'take it down'

Janis Zettle put a Volkswagen Bug in a tree as an art project. The city of Clearfield does not approve. (KUTV)

In the City of Clearfield, Utah, Janis Zettle is about as close as you can get to Willy Wonka.

Her home is one part amusement park, two parts art project.

Her front yard is adorned with art, antiques and handcrafted benches. The backyard has a climbing wall, trampoline and used to have a zip line.

With that in mind, Zettle's next idea, suspending a Volkswagen Bug in a tree in her front yard, seems like a perfectly understandable move.

"I get stuff that pops in my brain anytime of the day or night," says Zettle, who, two weeks ago, took out the engine, axle, and suspension out of the car and, with the help of a neighbor and his forklift, hoisted it into the tree. "We just love, we just love to decorate, we love to do things that are different," says Zettle.

A neighbor recently registered a complaint with the city, which, after investigating, determined that the car in the tree qualifies as a nuisance vehicle, "meaning it's partially dismantled or it's inoperable," says Asst. Chief of Police Kelly Bennett.

Bennett added that the car could also be dangerous, saying, "There is still that potential, with snow and ice, that the weight could cause that [car] to come out of the tree and it's a safety hazard."

Zettle has set up a petition asking for support of the car in the tree. So far, nearly 500 people have signed it. On Tuesday, she will speak before the city council and ask members to allow her to keep the artwork up. She admits she faces high odds and will take it down if the city demands it.

"If the final word is, to take it down, we'll take it down," says Zettle.

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