City deems tree house a safety hazard
|By Michelle McNiel, The Wenatchee World, Wash.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
He had plenty of ideas, but it wasn't until he bought an old home in
Postelwait started building the elevated structure on
Now Postelwait and the city are at a standoff over the tree house.
"If something happens, the city is liable for the damages," Kuntz said. "The council was unanimous in directing me to do what we're doing. It has to come down."
But Postelwait, owner of
"I feel that I'm within the law and they have not explained how I'm outside the law," he said. "I just think this is a big waste of city money and time."
The city did offer to let Postelwait keep the tree house if he takes out a
"A million dollars? For a tree house?" Postelwait said. "Come on!"
So now the city is planning to hire Pacific Engineering of
If it comes to that, he said, the city would bill Postelwait for the engineering study, the city's legal fees and the cost of removing the structure.
"I hate to do that," Smith said. "We've sent him lots of warning letters. If he'd just take it down, we could avoid all that."
Smith said his primary concern is that the tree house isn't safe. He said it's built in an exotic tree species called a tree of heaven. It's a softwood tree that the attorney described as a "big weed".
"I'm worried about that thing coming down in a windstorm," he said. "I wouldn't let my kids play in it." Postelwait agreed with the "weed" description for the tree. But added, "It's a pretty sturdy weed, and a healthy one."
He said there are about 10 big bolts anchoring the tree house to the tree at its widest point -- about 18 inches across. There is also a cable system rated to 800 pounds supporting the structure. He said he talked with an engineer before building it.
"There's no way the wind will blow it over," he added.
Postelwait is still hoping to reason with the city, but said he believes he would prevail if it ends up in court.
"How can they take me to court over an obstruction that doesn't exist?" he asked. "I don't want to fight over this. I just think it's ridiculous that they are going after a tree house."
He added, ""If they could prove to me that this is against code, I'd take it down. But until then, they are just harassing me."
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