Born out of the best of intentions, the Do-It-Yourself home-improvement project sometimes can end up off track. Way off track. Years off track.

Lack of know-how, lack of money, lack of discipline, or lack of luck can all bring work to a standstill.

That's bad for the homeowner, of course, and bad for neighbors left with a view of flapping tarps, unfinished walls and abandoned foundations.

After identifying about 10 of these homes, the Coon Rapids City Council has passed deadlines on exterior work. Starting this year, residents get six months to a year for a variety of permitted home improvement projects or they start to rack up fines.

In the case of lingering projects now on the city's radar, homeowners have until Aug. 1 to get the work done. Letters went out to those homeowners last week, said Coon Rapids Chief Building Official Gregory Brady.

In recent years Apple Valley and Inver Grove Heights have passed similar ordinances, Brady said.

Some of the unfinished projects date to 2008. They include an addition built and roofed but with no siding and a poured foundation that has been abandoned.

"People started work and it turned out to be a lot bigger job than they thought. The homes are sitting there unfinished," Brady said. "That affects other property in the neighborhood."

The goal of the deadlines isn't to be punitive or to create a revenue stream of fines for the city. The point is to make sure homeowners fully understand the city's expectations.

"We give them a sense of urgency and a deadline and let them know upfront before they start, we are tracking that," Brady said. "We want to be proactive."

Getting the project done in a timely manner also ensures that homeowners are not wasting materials and money, he said.

"There are certain time limits before the sun and the water break the construction materials down and they lose their integrity," Brady said.

The deadlines apply only to exterior work.

Under the new ordinance, homeowners have 180 days to finish roofing, siding, door and window projects, detached structures and sheds, retaining walls and grading. They have one year to complete new construction on single-family homes and additions.

Businesses and commercial properties will also face deadlines that will be set by the city depending on the size of the project.