Mayor says city is committed to businessWe have noted a lengthy letter from Skylar Rekstad objecting to the city’s new ordinance pertaining to dance clubs. Mr. Rekstad applied to open a dance club for 16- to 20-year-olds in Downtown Rosemount.
By: Bill Droste, Rosemount,
To the editor,
We have noted a lengthy letter from Skylar Rekstad objecting to the city’s new ordinance pertaining to dance clubs. Mr. Rekstad applied to open a dance club for 16- to 20-year-olds in Downtown Rosemount.
We are disappointed for several reasons by Mr. Rekstad’s criticism of the city’s careful response to his application. First, his proposal poses a unique situation. In this case, the safety and well-being of the teens and young adults who would be the club’s customers must be paramount over all other considerations — including Mr. Rekstad’s desire to make a profit entertaining our youth.
Second, Mr. Rekstad’s letter gives an inaccurate account of the city council’s action. After carefully listening to Mr. Rekstad’s extended discussion, council members eliminated one of the requirements he cites as objectionable in his letter before they took action.
Finally, we are disappointed because Mr. Rekstad accuses the city of being unresponsive to his concerns. In the week before the final ordinance was approved, our staff phoned him repeatedly to discuss his application. He returned none of the calls. Instead, he waited until the night of the final reading of the ordinance to read his list of objections. His timing was especially unfortunate because he had previously asked the city to act quickly so his business could open next month.
What’s most frustrating for me about Mr. Rekstad’s criticisms is his claim the Rosemount City Council is dismissive toward business development in general and his plan in particular. I invite interested residents to watch the two-hour proceedings on this issue at the last Council meeting. Recordings are available to view on local government cable TV channels and on the city web site, www.ci.rosemount.mn.us. On the web site you can also read the minutes from previous meetings where Council members tried to accommodate Mr. Rekstad’s concerns.
I believe you’ll find the council was extremely sensitive to his concerns, listening to and deliberating on his list of comments. It was a lengthy discussion, in part because many of the comments were matters Mr. Rekstad had the opportunity to bring up, but chose not to, during his appearance at the council’s previous regular meeting. The council had previously modified other sections of the ordinance based on his feedback.
In the end, council members wished him well with his plans and promised to continue working with him. In fact, our planning commission still has in front of it his request for a conditional use permit to operate at the site downtown that he originally picked.
But it is utterly inaccurate to accuse the city of being indifferent toward business development. Broadening Rosemount’s economy and tax base has been a top priority of this city council for years. In the last few months we have seen a number of businesses start up or expand, including the Fairview Clinic, Cub Liquor, Play ‘n’ Trade, Anytime Fitness, A Cat and a Fiddle, Medi Car Auto Repair, Hope & Healing Massage and the just-announced Sears Hometown appliance store. These businesses have invested in Rosemount despite very difficult economic conditions.
We’re not satisfied to stop there. The council has directed city staff to be at the forefront of Minnesota communities making ourselves available for “shovel-ready” certification. We have supported investments in roads and other infrastructure that benefit businesses and residents alike. Last year, in the grip of a deep recession, the city issued an increased number of housing permits, adding to the base of customers that many businesses find attractive.
Despite Mr. Rekstad’s criticisms, we continue to hope he will reconsider and decide to move ahead with his application to establish a dance club in Rosemount and join the other successful and growing businesses in our community.
I assure you encouraging economic development will continue to be a major goal of this city council. We will pursue that goal by all possible means — but never at the risk of our young people’s safety.
Mayor of Rosemount