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Brainerd officials remind residents of building, zoning rules in city

Warmer weather has prompted the Brainerd Building Safety Department and Planning Department to remind residents who are planning construction  projects or garage sales of the building code and zoning ordinance requirements.

Accessory buildings  — An accessory building includes storage buildings, sheds, gazeboes detached garages etc.  An accessory building (regardless of size) that will have a permanent foundation requires a building permit. An accessory building more than 120 square feet requires a building permit. A new accessory building more than 120 square feet cannot be metal. Plastic carport style buildings and “hoop” houses are not permitted in the city of Brainerd.  

There are several zoning requirements that affect accessory building construction. They include:

• Where in the community the building will be constructed.

• Lot placement.

• Property line setback requirements.

• Limit on the number of accessory buildings.

• Accessory building area and height.

• Maximum lot coverage. 

Swimming Pools  —Following are some of the more important swimming pool requirements:

• Any swimming pool that is over 24 inches above ground or more than 5,000 gallons in capacity (above ground or in ground) requires a building permit. 

• Pools that are less than 18 inches deep or less may be located in a front yard, must be 10 feet from a side lot line and eight feet from a rear property line.  Pools more than 18 inches deep must be located in a side yard or rear yard. 

• Seasonal pools that are more than 24 inches deep are required to have a controlled access and have a ground fault circuit. 

Fences  — Fences: are allowed in residential areas as follows:

• Up to six feet six inches starting at the front (and side if on a corner lot) of a house extending back to the rear property line.

• In a front yard up to four feet tall.

• Alley property line fence setback is four feet.

• The fence “good” side must face out (onto an adjoining property or towards the street or alley).

• A permit is required.

A fence is not allowed on a public right of way.

Garage Sale Signs — A property may have up to four garage sales each year. One  six-square-foot garage sale sign is allowed on private property and must be removed after the sale. This means signs are not allowed in the right of way in front of a house, on street lights, other utility poles and at a street corner. City of Brainerd staff has the authority to remove any sign in the public right of way without prior notice to the sign's owner. 

The details for all of the above items are available on the city website at and by contacting the city's Building Safety or Planning Departments at 501 Laurel Street or by calling 828-2309.