December 17, 2008

Wash. man can keep fancy tree house

A Washington state man ordered to tear down an elaborate tree house overlooking a river can keep it after reaching a compromise, county officials say.

King County officials had earlier ordered Pete Nelson, of Fall City, Wash., to remove his high-end tree house, built with cedar siding and maple floors, because the Sitka spruce it was perched in was too close to the Raging River and presented a flooding danger, the Seattle Times reported.

But after their order to demolish the structure drew negative media attention, officials had a change of heart and instead worked with Nelson to allow the tree house, and other projects planned for his property, as part of a new category of limited recreational and commercial uses. Such uses that will promote ecotourism and environmental stewardship will now be allowed near rivers and lakes, the newspaper said.

I'm just so thrilled. I can't believe it, Nelson said after more than two years of conflict with officials of the King County Department of Development and Environmental Services, who now really wanted it to happen. They bent over backward to make it happen.