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Council OKs dance club ordinance

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The city of Rosemount now has an ordinance that regulates dance clubs, billiard halls and arcades. But it doesn't look like it will have anything to regulate.

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After the city council voted in favor of the ordinance, Skylar Rekstad, who hoped to open a dry dance club for teens 16 to 20 years old in the former Big Daddy's and Irish Loon locations, said he will probably not move ahead with his plans. He said the risks outweigh the rewards.

"At this point I don't think I'll open. I'm going to take a little time and and consider my options," Rekstad said.

Before the council voted Rekstad asked the council to give him an opportunity to prove he was a good business owner that didn't need a lot of regulation. While several council members expressed confidence in Rekstad, the council passed the ordinance unanimously with a few changes.

The ordinance, which requires dance clubs, billiard halls and arcades to have a business license, was created in response to Rekstad's proposed teen night club.

Rekstad said the ordinance has a lot of flaws and discourages businesses such as his from opening in Rosemount.

"It made the city less attractive," said Rekstad. "Rosemount missed a prime opportunity to have a unique one-of-a-kind business right in the heart of their downtown area."

While Rekstad said he wasn't opposed to an ordinance, he said more work should have been put into it. Rekstad has actively worked with the council throughout the process.

"It seemed like they were rushing this along," said Rekstad.

Rekstad's list of objections was long and he picked through it during Monday night's city council meeting. The meeting was held Monday because of Night to Unite events being held Tuesday.

He began by thanking the council and city staff for their time and help but then said the ordinance discriminated against dance clubs and that many of the provisions in the ordinance didn't protect the health and welfare of the residents.

City attorney Charlie LeFevere said in this instance discriminating against a certain business wasn't a bad policy because regulations with in the ordinance protect the health and welfare of the residents.

"This is not an unlawful discrimination, we don't have to treat each business equally," LeFevere told the council.

Additionally LeFevere said an ordinance could be good for both the city and any businesses opening under the regulations because expectations are clear.

While Rekstad had a large number of complaints the following proved to be the most prevalent during the meeting.

Lighting

Rekstad argued lighting requirements were too strict. The ordinance requires one foot-candle of light throughout the club. Senior planner Eric Zweber said city staff visited several other establishments on Tuesday, July 28 within the city including Celt's Pub, Carbone's, Rudy's Red Eye Grill and Shenanigan's to compare their lighting standards. He said staff found that in all the establishments but Shenanigan's staff could easily identify patrons. Shenanigan's has a light level of .5 foot-candles.

Rekstad said he felt the light level was too strict and prevented his business from offering effective light shows that are popular in such clubs. He also said city staff should have visited those establishments on a Friday or Saturday night when they more closely resemble a club atmosphere.

For the complete story see the Aug. 7, 2009, print edition of the Rosemount Town Pages.

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