Crookston Inn granted dance permit for event, council members question process

Jess Bengtson
Crookston Times

    The City of Crookston’s “dance permit” process came under question after the city council recently approved a permit for the Crookston Inn’s upcoming parking lot party. The Inn will have live music with band “Tripwire” on September 2 and will serve alcohol outdoors so they, like others that host public events with the potential of alcohol being served, had to go through the process of filling out a form, providing a site map and having a resolution either approved or denied by the council.

    After the Inn’s resolution was introduced, which reads, “Resolution to Approve Dispensing and Consumption of Intoxicating Liquor and Dance Permit on premises at Crookston Inn Parking Lot”, Ward 6 council member Dylane Klatt asked if the process was supposed to be as difficult. City Administrator Amy Finch told Klatt and other council members that while the city’s application is a “bit cumbersome” the particular ordinance needs to be brought up to date.

    Finch said the League of Minnesota Cities has models to consider and they’re hoping to incorporate a model that will be right for the city, plus they’re looking to define certain social gatherings.

    “Ordinance changes do take a bit of time; some of our licenses and applications need to be revamped,” Finch explained. “I acknowledge this process is not ideal.”

    At-Large council member Wayne Melbye said he recalls “from days past” there used to be teen dances and dances at the VFW, and the whole idea of the dance permit wasn’t to make funds but to let the police chief know there would be alcohol involved and an event in town. He also mentioned, with past events, there would be an estimated attendance number given so they could hire extra police and “maintain orderly conduct.”

    “It used to be pretty simple,” Melbye added. “I’m surprised it was made a little more difficult.”

    Finch said she has spoken with law enforcement, reviewed site maps and feels the city has what they need for the Inn’s particular application. Police Chief Paul Biermaier told the council that there was not a plan for extra patrol for that event, but since there are restrictions for movement for the event on the Inn’s property they were “good with that.”