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Toronto boat-shaped treehouse allowed to stay up for now

Click to play video: 'Father fighting city hall over $30,000 backyard treehouse' Father fighting city hall over $30,000 backyard treehouse
WATCH ABOVE: Father fighting city hall over $30,000 backyard treehouse – Apr 20, 2016

A father of two has received a temporary reprieve from the City of Toronto after he was told last week to tear down an elaborate $30,000 boat-shaped treehouse constructed in the family’s backyard for breaking a zoning bylaw.

The family from Toronto’s Bloor West Village neighbourhood told Global News they received a visit from city councillor Giorgio Mammoliti Thursday night encouraging them to go to City Hall and fight to keep the beloved structure up.

The family was also told to meet with the city’s municipal licensing and standards committee and resubmit applications to have the treehouse exempt from the regulations.

“We’re waiting for them to tell us what the issues are, so we can address those issues,” said father John Alpeza. “The city never gave us a proper assessment in the first place.”

Last Friday, Alpeza said he received a voice-mail message ordering him to take down the structure this week or the city would seek a court order to do it.

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A spokesman from the city said a building permit wasn’t required for the treehouse, but an investigation was carried out following a complaint to ensure compliance with a zoning bylaw.

Mark Sraga, director of investigations with the city, said that in August 2014 the treehouse was found to exceed the maximum allowable height of 14 feet.

It was also recently revealed the structure did not meet the allotted property line distance of three feet.

Click to play video: 'Toronto boat-shaped treehouse allowed to stay up for now' Toronto boat-shaped treehouse allowed to stay up for now
Toronto boat-shaped treehouse allowed to stay up for now – Apr 22, 2016

Alpeza was issued with a notice of violation and given the option to either apply for a minor change to the bylaw or alter the treehouse to comply with the existing rule, he said.

Another penalty would have been a fine up to $25,000.

“Yesterday, the owner attended the offices of the Committee of Adjustment and started the process to seek a minor variance,” said Sraga.

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“I would like to stress that our goal in this matter is simply to gain compliance with the City’s Zoning By-law and we try to work with property owners to achieve that – the laying of charges or other court action is our last resort.”

Alpeza said the treehouse was built to get his kids away from video games and other digital devices and to enjoy the outdoors.

The treehouse includes a hull, a ship’s wheel and swing ropes.

-With a file from The Canadian Press

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