Jeff Humphrey

Do Treehouses Need a Building Permit?

Jeff Humphrey, Media Content Coordinator, 509.625.6308

Friday, March 30, 2018 at 2:26 p.m.

We all know you need a series of permits to build a new home, but do you have to check with City Hall before standing up a turbo-tree house?

Lori Patrick with Spokane’s Development Services Department knows the answers.

“There’s a lot of education when people come in to get a permit. We spend time with them to talk with them about where they can put their fence, what they can build it out of. We don’t regulate what you can build it out of,” explained Patrick.

However, there are height restrictions for fences. No more than six feet high for a fence in the back yard and a maximum 42 inches up front.

The height restrictions ensure your fence doesn’t block your view of cars and pedestrians when you’re backing out of the driveway.

Putting up a new fence requires a building permit, but fixing an existing one does not. However, when it comes to which side of the new fence your neighbor has to look at, there are no rules.

“People have that choice, when they’re the ones who are paying for the fence, they get to choose which way it faces,” Patrick said.

A new storage shed doesn’t need a permit unless it’s larger than 200 square feet but sheds are considered “accessory structures” and have to go in the back yard. So do our kid’s cool treehouses.

But what about chicken coops?

“If it is under 200 square feet you do not need to get a building permit but the coop still needs to be in the backyard,” Patrick said.

If you’re putting up a new deck in the front or backyard, if the porch is attached to your home, you’re going to need a permit.

So if spring flowers and our warming temperatures have you thinking about home improvements, call before you build.

With a little input from the City you won’t end up spending money on a project only to find out it’s not permitted.

“Making sure that it’s built correctly in the right place and the right height so you don’t have to replace it and cut it down shorter,” said Patrick of illegal fences.

For more information, call the City of Spokane’s Development Services Center at 625.6300.

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