Brainerd reminds residents of zoning codes

The city of Brainerd building safety and planning departments want to remind residents about building codes and zoning ordinances when thinking about summer projects.


The city of Brainerd building safety and planning departments want to remind residents about building codes and zoning ordinances when thinking about summer projects.

Projects like constructing a storage building, installing a privacy fence, buying a new swimming pool or having a garage sale all require compliance with codes and ordinances.

An accessory building includes storage buildings, sheds, gazebos and detached garages. An accessory building, regardless of size, requires zoning approval. An accessory building more than 200 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. There are several important zoning requirements that affect accessory building construction.

Important zoning requirements affecting accessory building construction 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 and maximum lot coverage.

Swimming pools more than 2 feet above ground or more than 5,000 gallons in capacity, above ground or in ground, shall be completely enclosed, have a ground fault circuit and require a building permit. Pools 18 inches deep or less may be located in a front, side or rear yard. Pools more than 18 inches deep shall be 8 feet from a rear lot line and may be located in a side yard or side street yard if located 10 feet from a side lot line and 20 feet from a side street lot line. Seasonal pools more than 24 inches deep are required to be completely enclosed and have a ground fault circuit.


Fences in residential areas must meet these requirements:

• Up to 6 feet 6 inches starting at the front of a house (and side if on a corner lot) extending back to the rear property line,

• In a front yard up to 4 feet tall,

• Alley property line fence setback is 4 feet,

• The fence's 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.

Almost all material, equipment and personal property is required to be kept within a building or screened from public properties and rights of way. Exceptions include clotheslines, recreational equipment, rear or side yard storage of firewood for personal use, off-street parking of licensed and operable passenger automobiles, pickup trucks.


Parking or storage of a recreational vehicle is permitted provided it is property of the person or persons residing on the premises and licensed and operable. The vehicle can be stored no closer than 5 feet from side or rear lot lines, located in the front yard and parked on designated and properly surfaced driveway or parking area. It can also be located in the front yard or side yard abutting a street and must be placed at least 15 feet from the back of curb and shall not encroach on any public sidewalk or trail. In any yard, not placed within 10 feet of the living quarters of the principal building on the adjacent lot.

Tarps or coverings are allowed provided they are a color that matches screening material whether it is landscaping or fencing. One fish house is permitted to be stored in the rear yard.

A property may have up to four garage sales each year. One 6 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 or at a street corner. City of Brainerd staff have the authority to remove any sign in the public right of way without prior notice to the sign's owner.

Spring is the season to begin yard work and exterior improvements. The Property Maintenance Code applies to all existing residential and nonresidential structures and all existing premises. Exteriors shall be maintained in good repair, structurally sound and sanitary so as not to pose a threat to the public health, safety or welfare.

All exterior surfaces, including but not limited to, doors, door and window frames, cornices, porches, trim, balconies, decks and fences must be maintained. Exterior wood surfaces, other than decay resistant woods, should be protected from the elements and decay by painting or other protective covering or treatment. Peeling, flaking and chipped paint should be eliminated and surfaces repainted.

No person, firm or corporation of any kind shall permit the accumulation of junk, including but not limited to waste material, trash, rubbish, refuse, or litter of any kind upon any land or inside or under any building or structure which may provide harborage or breeding places for mosquitoes, vermin or rats.

The presence of abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, inoperative, unlicensed, junked, or partially dismantled motor vehicles or a motor vehicle lacking vital component parts or parts of a motor vehicle on private or public property is considered a public nuisance. This does not apply to any motor vehicle enclosed within a building of private property or to any motor vehicle held in connection with a business enterprise lawfully licensed by the city.

All premises and exterior property shall be maintained free from weeds or plant growth in excess of 6 inches. All noxious weeds are prohibited. Weeds are defined as all grasses, annual plants and vegetation, other than trees or shrubs provided; however, this term does not include cultivated flowers and gardens.


Pet owners are responsible for cleaning up feces and disposing of it in a sanitary manner whether on their own property, on the property of others or on public property. The cleanup of feces on the animal owner's property shall not exceed 72 hours from May 1 through October 31 and once per week from November 1 through April 30. The cleanup of feces on the property of others or public property must be taken care of immediately.

Residents are urged to contact the building safety department or the planning department at 218-828-2309 with questions about any of the above areas. Visit the city website at for more information.

What To Read Next
Who are the people being held in custody in Aitkin, Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Todd, and Wadena counties?
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.
Inmates in-custody in the Mille Lacs County jail in Milaca, Minnesota
Inmates in-custody in the Hubbard County jail in Park Rapids, Minnesota