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New rules coming for home upkeep in Farmington

A new property maintenance code is one step closer to being approved after Monday’s Farmington City Council meeting.

The proposed Property Maintenance Code is designed to help city officials regulate the condition of homes in the community. More specifically, it will help to identify houses that have exteriors in poor condition. It also gives the city a structured means of getting those homes cleaned up.

Having received the final input from city council members, Farmington assistant city planner Tony Wippler will now work in some remaining language so as to have the ordinance ready for public input at an October public hearing.

The main component of the ordinance, Wippler said, is a trigger point of noncompliance of 25 percent for painted areas, missing siding, missing or loose pointing of any brick or stone wall, stucco walls and roofing.

The ordinance will require that a building permit be taken out for all exterior building projects, and that those projects are completed within six months of the permit’s issuance. In a case where the work is not done, the city’s building official would be responsible to start the enforcement of the new ordinance, Wippler said.

The ordinance also outlines a process for notifying the homeowner of noncompliance, and establishes a penalty for noncompliance.

One area Wippler is still working on is the appeals process. He intends to add more language that gives the homeowner a defined course of action if the homeowner is notified of noncompliance and wishes to appeal that notice. Wippler plans to have that final wording included in the document before a public hearing next month.

Farmington council members are in agreement with the ordinance. Council member Doug Bonar noted that Farmington’s ordinance is similar to others already in place in other communities in the south metro area. In fact, Wippler said, Lakeville uses the same 25 percent trigger point that was written into Farmington’s ordinance.

“We find it to be fairly consistent with what other communities are using,” Wippler said.

While she understands the need for such an ordinance, council member Christy Jo Fogarty is disappointed the city has to regulate what homeowners do with their own property.

“I’m sad that we have to do this. I’m sad that neighbors can’t just be good neighbors, and I know that there have been some homeowners and especially in our downtown community who have struggled with their neighbors not being good neighbors,” Fogarty said. “I’m sad that we have to look at and adopt these kinds of ordinances because really, I feel like it’s the city having to babysit people who should really just be taking good care of their property.”

Farmington residents will be able to speak on the proposed ordinance during the next planning commission meeting, Oct. 8.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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