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Garage talk - Baxter adds requirement with residential building

BAXTER — From now on if Jack were building a house in Baxter, he’d have to build a garage, too.

In a split vote Wednesday, the Baxter Council voted to require garages with residential construction. The move came after a six-month moratorium on residential building permits which was extended in October to give staff more time to iron out details on garage sizes, research ordinances and requirements from home lending programs.

For a single family home, residences are required to have a two-vehicle garage 20 feet wide by 22 feet long. For two family dwellings or townhouses, one garage space is required 12 feet by 22 feet. For apartments and multi-family dwellings, a half garage or underground parking space per unit is required. So a 24-unit apartment building would require a 12-unit garage. The city has the option to waive the requirement for senior living complexes.

The council voted 3-2 in favor of the garage requirement with Mayor Darrel Olson and Council members Jim Klein and Todd Holman in favor. Council members Mark Cross and Rob Moser were opposed.

The issue first came before the city when an apartment building plan arrived without garages. Many of the apartment complexes in Baxter have underground parking. While there wasn’t a written requirement for a garage, building on all planned unit developments up to that point had included them.

Cross said he agreed with the

majority of the ordinance, but was against the requirement for a single family home. Holman asked if making it a single vehicle garage was better, but Cross said he was taking the position against forcing a resident to build any garage. Klein said he was concerned with developers putting up houses without garages and then leaving no room for one should a future resident want it. Cross said he understood that argument.

Moser noted the number of cities requiring garages in the city’s report.

“I just haven’t felt it’s been an issue in the past,” Moser said, adding the could see both sides of the argument but had been against requiring garages from the beginning.

Olson who has supported the idea from the outset, said if it hasn’t been a problem it should be an issue if the city adds the ordinance.

Olson said people were moving into Baxter long before he arrived because they liked how the city had developed. Adding the garage ordinance would be following those patterns and Olson said he didn’t want to see the city move backwards.

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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