Insight given on treehouse village

By Hunter Huffman - For the Enterprise

The proposed Treehouse Village was greatly detailed at the Swanton Planning Commission’s Aug. 7 meeting. Emily Ziegler, the planning director of Metroparks Toledo, was present alongside several Metroparks staff to present site plans of the upcoming Treehouse Village.

According to Ziegler, the village will offer a “unique overnight experience” to Oak Openings. It will consist of five wood treehouse canopies; one will be utilized for recreation, while the others are living spaces for guests, each with different capacities for guests.

The houses will be between 8 and 16 feet in the air. There will not be any sewer lines running to the canopies, but sanitary necessities will be available at the site, including an on-ground bathroom. Currently, the construction crew is working on a driveway and parking area for the village. The lot itself will hold 70 vehicles, which is the largest of any Metropark.

Metroparks Toledo hopes to complete the village, located at 3520 Waterville Swanton Road, by the end of 2019.

The commission displayed concern for visitor safety. Board member Roger DeGood asked of provisions for tree growth. Metropark staff responded that each tree in the village is individually tagged and regularly maintained. Each treehouse will be set on treehouse attachment bolts, which are built to withstand massive amounts of weight.

Nelson Treehouse is also assisting Metropark Toledo to ensure safety; the company is “very familiar” with the structures, according to Metroparks staff. Nelson Treehouse is featured on the Animal Planet show “Treehouse Masters.”

DeGood praised Metroparks Toledo for their efforts, describing his reaction to the site plan as being in “positive light.” However, he requested that more details are necessary for the public.

“This is very unique,” he said.

Furthermore, the board questioned Ziegler on emergency response. Ziegler explained that there will be no vehicular access beyond the village’s parking lot, as it “deteriorates the experience.” However, a fully-commissioned law enforcement and first aid staff will be present, alongside utility carts to aid in transport in emergencies.

A resident of a subdivision near the Treehouse Village appeared in the meeting to address concerns with Metroparks Toledo; they received a letter from the Village of Swanton detailing that their property was in site plans. However, board member Rosanna Hoelzle explained that the property just borders the site of the Treehouse Village; Ziegler confirmed that their property will not be affected by construction or the completed site.

The resident also voiced a safety concern, requesting that citations be given out to bikers who run stop signs at trail crossings on local roads.

“Someone is gonna get killed,” he said.

Metropark staff responded that they will further investigate the issue.

The board approved the current site plan and a variance request for the Treehouse Village. Metroparks Toledo hopes to hold an event in October to educate the public on the village.

The board also approved a variance request for a resident on Brookside Drive, allowing the construction of a dog fence.

By Hunter Huffman

For the Enterprise