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Dispute over Treehouse Heads to Mediation

Saturday, May, 7, 2016

A Toronto homeowner could be headed to mediation regarding a treehouse he built on his property. Attorneys familiar with the case believe mediation would be the best option for those involved in the dispute, including the homeowner, his neighbors, and town officials.


The City of Toronto has ordered John Alpeza to remove his $30,000 backyard treehouse. The mayor has stated the boat-shaped structure can be saved, but some believe Alpeza will face charges for ignoring building codes and laws related to his having built the structure.


Toronto officials point out the elaborate treehouse violates zoning bylaws and neighbors have requested the treehouse be removed, claiming it violates her right to enjoy her land. Alpeza is also accused of not trying to get the necessary permits before beginning his building of the structure.


The structure is 108 square feet and sits atop a dead tree.


Though some are calling this a classic neighbor dispute, many believe that not to be the case. Since Alpeza did not get the permits needed to build and because he is violating bylaws, they believe his actions should be treated as a crime.


Others who believe mediation could be effective point out the emotional issues involved in owning land and homes. They believe much of the dispute centers around wanting a feeling of safety and personal security, and to feel as if people have some control over their land. They believe mediation will address these emotional issues, in addition to making decisions about the zoning and bylaw issues that have been raised.