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"It doesn't look done to me," Fines resume in construction project

Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls Brainerd City Council member Gary Scheeler (left) looks into an exterior walk-out area that has cracked during construction with house owner Terry Kinder Friday. Kinder will be fined $100 per day starting Saturday until the exterior of the home is completed. 2 / 2

Daily $100 fines start again Saturday, June 21, for a Brainerd resident who has yet to complete a house construction project.

During a house visit to Terry Kinder's property at 1420 Quince St., the Brainerd City Council Friday voted to fine Kinder $100 a day, starting Saturday, until the work is complete. The council also agreed to forgive all past fines since Kinder was making progress on the longtime project.

Absent were city council members Dave Pritschet and Kelly Bevans.

"I hope this sends the statement that the city wants residents and businesses to succeed. That's why we've been so lenient," said city council member Chip Borkenhagen. "We want Brainerd to grow and prosper."

Friday's house call came after a long back-and-forth situation between Kinder and the city.

The initial building permit was granted in September of 2012 for construction of the house. Health issues prevented Kinder from working for nine months. Progress on the project was slow, so the council got involved a few months ago, setting deadlines for when Kinder should complete the work.

At the first Brainerd City Council meeting this month, Kinder was given an additional seven days, or until June 9, to complete the exterior work at his property. Failing to do so would mean being fined $100 a day, the group previously decided. If Kinder didn't meet that June 9 deadline, but still completed the work by June 20, the fines would be forgiven.

That's why the council met at his property Friday - to determine if the work was complete or if fines should continue.

"(Today) is the deadline of the extension of the extension of the extension," said City Planner Mark Ostgarden. "You must determine if the work is completed."

"It doesn't look done to me," said council member Mary Koep, minutes after arriving.

Kinder admitted he had two more projects left that could each take a week to complete.

The first involves concrete for the sidewalk in front of the house that must be poured.

The second, involves the retaining wall behind the house, that must be torn out.

About 120 square feet of siding is left to go up. That was delayed, arriving Thursday, because the delivery driver couldn't find the house, Kinder said.

He said that would be finished by the end of the day Friday, along with seeding of the lot.

"It should be mostly done by the end of the day," Kinder said of the final tasks.

Kinder added that he's been working on the house every day, at least 12 hours a day, to meet the deadline.

City council member Gary Scheeler said he's driven by the house daily and has seen Kinder at work each time.

Koep voiced concern over the message that would be sent to the public with the council's decision, noting that some people are getting fined for "having chipped paint."

Borkenhagen said the whole situation seemed like "deja vu" and the council needed to start fines.

"If anyone is a softie in these situations it's me, but at some point, we have to be like 'wait a minute.'"

The group unanimously agreed to start the daily $100 fines Saturday, June 21, forgiving all past fines, but noted it was the last time they would do so.

"No more forgiveness," Koep said.

The city can fine Kinder $100 a day for a code violation, but that can't exceed $2,000, according to city code.

That code requires all exterior work be completed within one year of when the building permit was issued. An extension may be requested in cases where "unforeseen conditions" arise and prevent the work from being done.

The code in regard to the interior work is a little more lax, said Tim Caughey, city building official. As long as progress is being made, there is no violation.