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Council backs P&Z ruling on Birch St. home
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

June 12. 2013 9:51AM
In a 4-1 vote June 3, the Brandon City Council upheld a decision made by the city’s Planning and Zoning Board of Adjustment last month, granting a building permit for a home to be moved on to property at 1500 Birch St.

Neighboring homeowners, however, say the home Cory and Donal Baker have brought in is a manufactured home and does not meet “new building” criteria as stipulated in the corresponding city ordinance.

Neighbors opposing the home say the home does not bear a compliance certificate and data plate seal and lacked verification from the State of Minnesota. They also argue that the home is not a new building as stated in the building permit, that it does not meet proper setback requirements and is a negative investment in the community.

Building inspector Dave Swier said his office erred in citing the home as “new construction.”

“It’s new construction for the lot but is it new construction? No, it was moved in,” Swier said.

Alderman Bob Bruning asked if the outcome would be changed had home been noted as a used building on the application.

Swier said no.

In helping to make their decision, P&Z Commissioner Bob Serk received written confirmation from Minnesota housing authority rep Randy Vogt that states the home is not a manufactured home, but instead is a modular unit that was constructed under the same standards as a site built unit.

“Dynamic has never built manufactured/mobile homes to the HUD standards,” Vogt wrote.

Adds Dynamic Homes (Detroit Lakes, Minn.) quality control manager Dennis Quittschreiber, “You said that you have the data plate which states it was built in October 2005 and would have been built to or above the codes at that time for Minnesota and which should have close to the same or better than South Dakota then,” he said.

“Given what evidence is before me, I don’t how we can argue that this is a manufactured home,” said Bruning, “so I recommend we go with Planning and Zoning’s finding.”

This was not the last issue neighbors have with the Baker property. On Thursday, Planning and Zoning Commission dealt with a variance hearing on where a garage can be built on the property.

Parkview home razed
The City of Brandon will likely be footing the bill for razing a home at 1012 S. Parkview Blvd. earlier this year.

The black mold-filled home was torn down by Soukup Construction at a cost of $12,193 in late April.

The home, which had went into foreclosure, was vacated more than a year ago.
Paying the $12,000 bill didn’t set well with Alderwoman Barb Fish.

“I was under the assumption we were able to charge this back to the bank,” Fish said.

City Attorney Lisa Marso said the city could be listed as a second lien on the property, but said it’s unlikely the city would ever recoup its money. “Do we think we will recoup the money off of this lot? Probably not,” she said.

The council will take action on paying the bill June 17.

Aspen Park update
Fish, who serves as the Council’s liaison to the Park Advisory Committee, said the Aspen Park Task Force did not address upgrades to the pool, as they were not assigned to do so.

“The Parks Board is looking at that now and will come with recommendations to the council at their next meeting,” she said.

That meeting is Monday, June 17.

Last month, the task force presented a $14.8 million improvement plan for Aspen Park, which focused largely on additional baseball and softball fields, parking and a second access into the park. The group hopes to bring the project to a bond referendum vote this September. Pool improvements were not included in the plans.
“We understand the people would like some improvements at the pool, but we already lose $127,000 a year,” she said.

Fish encourages residents to email with her suggestions of improvements/needs to the pool.

“If anyone has anything that they think we need at the pool, to email me,” she said. “But I just don’t think we’ll be able to afford a lazy river.”
In other business:

• Deferred action on a request by the Brandon Valley Area Chamber of Commerce for additional funding, which would be directed toward a new marketing campaign. Council members will act in the request during their 2014 budget discussions.

• Were informed of the status of the water tower repair project. Read said the project should be wrapped up in 10 days to two weeks, weather pending. The tower has been completely sandblasted and workers were putting primer on it last week, with painting to follow.

• Adjourned until 6 p.m., Monday, June 17.

Soukup Construction was contracted by the City of Brandon to tear down this home at 1012 Parkview Blvd. in late April. The home, completely encased in black mold, was condemned by the city, which is footing the approximate $12,000 bill. Photo by Jill Meier

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