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April 2014


Tree houses ok in City of Pewaukee

The Idleman family can finally have their tree house, one whole summer, one construction firm and one lawyer later.

The City of Pewaukee Plan Commission approved of the structure late Thursday night, but the idea has been discussed since the family started tore down the old structure and started building the new one. 

Tree houses are not explicitly covered within city ordinances so it was red flagged by city inspectors. The family received a "cease and desist" notice and the issue was brought to the Common Council in August. The Common Council, in turn, sent the issue to the plan commission.

"Accessory uses that are not listed may go before the plan commission before they are approved... It’s because it’s not a normal accessory. It’s not a garage. It’s not a maintenance shed like the normal accessory use. It’s a different kind of use than what’s in the ordinance. It’s abnormal, if you will, " said City Planner Harlan Clinkenbeard.

The commission approved of the tree house and Mayor Klein made his thoughts clear on the issue, saying, "You know, in general, I don’t know that we want to get involved with these little tree houses, unless someone gets carried away or if it’s on property lines, or something like that. I really don’t see why we want to get too involved with these things unless it has some kind of impact on the neighborhood and (the Idleman's tree house) does not."

The rest of the commission agreed and the measure passed unanimously.

"I’m totally familiar with it. I’m familiar with the tree house that was there, which, in it’s time when it was in good shape. It was a great, classy looking little tree house. With the designs from the builder, it’s probably gonna be even nicer," said Commissioner Ted Janker.

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