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Jason Rantz


Father in fight with city of Wenatchee over tree house

Zeb Postelwait always wanted to build a treehouse for his sons. He got the chance last summer after moving into a Wenatchee home with a big tree in the front yard. (AP Photo/Don Seabrook -The Wenatchee World)

A father in Wenatchee is fighting with the city to keep a tree house he built with his kids last Father’s Day.

“I’ve always wanted to build a tree house for my sons. I finally bought a house that had a big enough tree to have a tree house, so I built it,” Zeb Postelwait tells KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz.

Zeb says it’s a simple structure with a platform and a roof. “It’s not too out of the ordinary and it’s bolted to the tree nice and sturdy. I don’t really see a problem with it.”

But the city does.

“They’ve showed up at my house several times to try to tell me they want me to take it down and I’ve already told them many times I don’t want to take it down,” says Zeb.

According to Zeb, the tree house is thirteen feet off the ground and the only entrance is inside a fenced yard.

“Really, the only thing they have on me is it is over their public right of way,” he says. “There’ve been fights about how far up does the city right of way go. That’s kind of what I’m trying to establish with our city because they haven’t really stated.

“The only thing I can find in our city code that actually does pertain to trees, and it says ten feet over the sidewalk, thirteen feet over the curb line, and sixteen feet over the street. Since my tree house doesn’t even go over the sidewalk, I don’t really see a problem.”

He says the city has threatened to take him to court and told him if he wants to keep the tree house, he needs to bring in an engineer and get a $1 million insurance policy. He says no way. But the city is prepared to seek a court order to remove the tree house and send Zeb the bill.

“How far are you willing to take this?” asked Rantz.

“Well I’m just a small business owner, I don’t have huge amounts of money,” he says. “So we’ll see how far it goes.”

“What I like about you Zeb is you’re a troublemaker, but the good kind of troublemaker, the one who says you know what I’m not just going to sit back and let the city steamroll me,” says Rantz.

“I wish you the absolute best of luck.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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