Woman keeps up fight for tree house

When it comes to saving her tree house, Patty Dean is pursuing all her options to keep her treasured backyard loft.

She appealed to the City Council on Tuesday night and hired an arborist to analyze the tree, who determined that the tree house should stay because it was stabilizing the branches and removing it could damage the tree.

In July, Dean received a letter from the city informing her that she had 30 days to remove the tree house or face fines from the city. The warning was prompted by complaints from neighbors, who said the tree house was dangerous and an invasion of privacy.

City code compliance specialist Dean Walker found the tree house violated a city ordinance requiring all structures be no more than 15 feet high and at least three feet from back and side property lines.

Walker negotiated a Christmas deadline for Dean to remove the tree, a verdict that still stands unless someone with more authority than he has reverses the decision.

At Tuesday's Council meeting, City Administrator Martha Bennett committed to working with code enforcement, planning and building department staff to resolve the problem.

Dean is hoping the odds are in her favor.

"I know that my spirit resides within myself and not outside myself somewhere in a tree," she said, "but I'm really hoping that I'll be allowed to keep it, and if I can't, then I won't die."

Staff writer Julie French can be reached at 482-3456 ext. 227 or jfrench@dailytidings.com.

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