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Nightclub ordinance gets a first look

The Rosemount City Council held the first reading of an ordinance that will require a business license for dance clubs, arcades and billiards halls Tuesday night.

The ordinance will regulate issues specific to entertainment related businesses that don't serve alcohol. Components of the ordinance include required background checks, license issuance and the potential of revocation. Regulations cover a variety of topics including lighting levels, required security, hours of operations, special event considerations, occupancy and fees.

The ordinance came about as the result of a request for a conditional use permit for a teen dance club. At a work session a week ago city council members determined that because of its uniqueness and issues that could arise with such a business it would be best to have a license to regulate certain conditions that can't be addressed by a conditional use permit. A conditional use permit regulates land uses.

Skylar Rekstad requested a conditional use permit to build Solaris Night Club and Lounge, a night club for teens 16 to 20 years old, in the Big Daddy's and Irish Loon spaces in the Loch Blake building.

The planning commission continued a public hearing for the conditional use permit in June to allow staff time to work on the issue. Since then staff has proposed the ordinance to the city council. The public hearing will be continued at the July 28 planning commission meeting.

Although Tuesday's meeting was not a public hearing mayor Bill Droste gave a few members of the audience the chance to speak. Residents with different opinions stepped up to the microphone.

Armed with a copy of a newspaper story about the issues teen clubs have been having in Minneapolis and St. Paul Sue Dokken spoke against having a dance club in Rosemount.

"I'm totally against this," she told the council. "What do we want to do this for?"

Dokken was concerned about kids drinking before attending the club and misbehaving later, among other things.

On the opposite side of things Kathy Klonecky, the mother of a teenage girl, said she thought a teen club would be a good addition to Rosemount. She also said she thought the proposed fees for the applications were too high.

Staff has proposed an $500 initial application fee, an $800 annual license fee and a $175 license amendment fee. Senior planner Eric Zweber said the fees would cover staff time to process the licenses, including police background checks.

Rekstad also spoke in regards to a provision of the ordinance that would have the council review the license after three police calls that result in investigative reports in a 12 month period He asked that the council look at how many calls other establishments in the city get and to judge accordingly.

Police chief Gary Kalstabakken said he came up with that number based on standards the departments has with businesses of a similar size that serve alcohol. Additionally, he said council review did not mean the businesses license would get revoked.

The city council scheduled the second reading of the ordinance for Aug. 3. The planning commission will have a public hearing regarding the conditional use permit for Solaris July 28.

In other business the council approved a joint use agreement that will result in two tennis courts being built in Charlie's Park next to the two existing courts.

The city will work with School District 196 on the project. The school district owns the land but the city maintains and manages the courts.