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Homeowners fighting to keep their treehouse from being torn down by the city of Kenosha

Posted at 10:00 PM, Apr 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-25 05:43:49-04

KENOSHA, Wis. — A three-story treehouse in Kenosha with it's own zipline might have to be torn down. The city has told the owners, Stuart and Alina Swanson, it is too tall and they need a permit.

Now the homeowners hope they can keep what they built.

"This has been like a childhood dream because me and my dad tried to build a treehouse, but it was a piece of plywood that got rotten by the rain," Stuart Swanson said.

Four years ago, the Swansons decided to make the treehouse dream a reality and they found a builder willing to do it.

"He had come to the city of Kenosha and asked if they needed a permit to build a treehouse. And they told him no," Alina Swanson said. "The actual city inspector said it was okay in the process of it being built."

This is what they created, a three-story treehouse. The second floor has a sink and a hammock.

The top floor has a custom built table that folds down from the ceiling. There is also a pull out couch and a TV along with a balcony. Plus, there is a platform for a zip line.

The Swanson's said everything was fine for three years until they started to rent their treehouse out on sites like AirBnB.

"I think that drew attention to it and people started complaining," Stuart Swanson said.

They said that is when the city got involved. They were told the structure they needed to have a permit, to take out the electricity and water and to stop using it as a rental property. All of which they said they did. They also applied for a permit to have the treehouse be considered an accessory building.

But they are still trying to figure out how they can comply with the city's height requirement. So they do not have to tear it down.

"The most important thing is just to get it back for the kids," Stuart said.

We reached out to Kenosha city officials and haven't heard back.