City committee rejects application to keep boat-shaped tree house

John Alpeza’s $30,000 labour of love for his children was denied a stay of execution today at the Etobicoke-York Committee of Adjustment. The family was hoping for exemptions from bylaws that found the tree house to be too tall and large for their property.

“It’s a very, very sad day for kids and families – a for people want to do something special for their family and kids,” said John.

The city-appointed panel voted unanimously against granting seven variances related to the size and positioning of the tree house. According to the city the structure is 2.09 metres above the permitted limit, “while the lot coverage variance of 17.05% greatly exceeds the permitted 5%,” according to a letter sent by area councillor Sarah Doucette.

“I’m so sad because my father worked so hard,” said ??-year old Mateas Alpeza.

“This is the worst day of my life,” added ??-year old Kristian Alpeza

The family says they plan on continuing the fight which began in April when they were notified that their structure ran afoul of city bylaws.

“We’re not going to give up on our tree house and this is for all kids that they have right to, to get out there get away from video games. That’s the whole purpose behind this,” said John Alpeza.

Children’s petition listing names of supporters of the Alpeza’s tree houses

Peter Kim / Digital Broadcast Journalist

ChangSha Night Net

Councillor Mammolit has been a supporter of the tree house since it first made national news several months ago.

“I would say to those who are objecting to children playing, ‘get a life’” he told Global News.

He says he sees this as a dispute between two neighbours and that the city should not get involved.

Mammoliti says the city has one final avenue of appeal: the Ontario Municipal Board.

“That’s going to cost them a tonne of money,” he added. Local area councillor Sarah Doucette initially opposed the structure, but then suggested a compromise: lowering the tree house to meet height requirements and overlooking the lot coverage.

But turning a treehouse into a fort wouldn’t be the same for the alpeza kids.


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