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Letter: Ordinance is too restrictive, potential club owner says

To the editor,

Over the past eight months I have pursued a teen club and lounge. Upon learning my plans, the city decided to create an ordinance that requires businesses of this nature to obtain a license. Although I opposed this ordinance it passed unanimously Monday. I am extremely disappointed. Over the 16 years I have lived in Rosemount, I have seen many businesses leave because they could not make ends meet. I too have opened a business in Rosemount with my wife and we have had our struggles with no help from city officials. When we first opened our business we decided we needed to market it aggressively to attract customers. We used yard signs. These signs worked wonders but city staff informed us we were in violation of a sign ordinance. My wife and I received written permission to place our signs in some yards yard for one week. Before that one week was up, the city had already removed them, stating again we were in violation. We argued freedom of speech applies and what people support on their private property is their choice. The city did not agree.

The city of Rosemount prefers to regulate first and attract business second. This philosophy is why many buildings sit vacant and why they will remain vacant. Rosemount missed a prime opportunity to have a unique business in the heart of downtown.

I have decided not to open Solaris Nightclub and Lounge in Rosemount because:

1. The ordinance would require a license which would cost $800 annually, $500 for an initial investigation and background check and $175 to amend the business license to incorporate new managers.

2. The business license regulated the amount of light required in the club.

The city initially wanted to impose a 10 foot candle minimum in the club at all times, which I strongly objected to and after their analysis, they admitted might have been excessive.

3. Persons who were to be eligible for a business license must be of good moral character or fortitude. Although I feel I would have had no problem passing this requirement, it gave city staff too much discretion by not defining their expectations.

4. Anyone applying for a license must submit to a background check. This check went back as far as 10 years. It also required the person applying disclose all parties who have a financial stake over 5 percent. How is this protecting the health, safety and welfare of the community?

5. The amount of the investment the applicant has in the business, building, premises, fixtures and structures, exclusive of land, on the premises proposed to be licensed must be disclosed.

Why this is relevant to opening a business in the City of Rosemount?

6. The ordinance states, "The business records of the licensee, including federal and state tax returns, shall be available for inspection by the city at all reasonable times upon written request."

7. Three police calls within one year or 12 months would require a review of our license where they could take action by revoking our license up to 60 days or permanently. The police chief said they receive about 40 police calls a year from Shenanigan's, and no other business in Rosemount has regulations as to how many calls to the police they can have.

The risk factors imposed by this ordinance were simply too much for someone to attempt opening a business. Any of the above factors could have resulted in the revocation of the business license which means no more income. As a business owner you need to have assurance your business will have the right to operate. This ordinance did not allow for that and created so much risk no person would attempt to open this sort of business in Rosemount.

It is unfortunate more time was not given to this issue. The council did not have to pass the ordinance last night. There were many options that could have made this more business friendly. Those opportunities are now history.

There are people out there who would like to do business within our town but they are being kept out by overregulation. This practice must stop. The city of Rosemount needs to welcome businesses, not discourage them.

Skylar Rekstad