City officials say Medford treehouse must be dismantled or modified

Medford city officials say a tree house that appeared in the skyline above an east Medford neighborhood this fall must be drastically modified or taken down within 90 days or the builder could face penalties.

Construction of the tree house that towers over Lazy Creek bike path behind Greenbrook Drive began this fall when homeowner Aaron Ford and his 5-year-old son were brainstorming ways to better utilize their too-small backyard.

The structure measures 8 feet wide, 10 feet long and nearly 11 feet in height, with its top reaching 20 to 21 feet in the air.

Ford's next-door neighbor, nurse Beth Powell, raised concerns when Ford began building the structure some 16 inches from her fence line despite city municipal codes requiring a minimum 4-foot setback.

Ford moved the house back to almost 4 feet from Powell's property line. But Powell contacted the city about the structure's height, size and windows added on three sides that she said invaded her privacy.

Under the city's municipal code, buildings of up to 15 feet tall must have a 4-foot setback from side and rear property lines, with an additional half-foot setback for each additional foot in height. Under city guidelines, a 20- to 21-foot-tall tree house would require a 61/2 to 7-foot setback.

— Buffy Pollock

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