Thursday, December 1 2022

BAXTER — Consensus on what constitutes a special event at Baxter was at the forefront of discussions Tuesday, May 17, during a City Council business meeting.

The board unanimously decided on April 5 to deny Patrick Sundberg, owner of Jack Pine Brewery, permits for 12 events between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

A stage outside the Jack Pine Brewery on Monday May 16, 2022 is where events would take place at the brewery.

Tim Speier / Brainerd Dispatch

With an April request from council member John Ward, time was set aside on Tuesday to discuss the special events ordinance and whether the city would reassess its requirements for special events.

At the April meeting, council member Zach Tabatt said the city code didn’t match the special events being discussed.

“I think what’s happened here is that the form that’s being filled out doesn’t match the code and it kind of slipped through,” Tabatt said at the May 5 council meeting. april. “I’m also saying, I don’t think we have the ability or the authority to deny a special event based on a number, based on how I read the code.”

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Baxter City Council members Zach Tabatt, left, Darrel Olson and John Ward, Tuesday, May 17, 2022, discuss special events in the city.

Sara Guymon / Brainerd Dispatch

On Tuesday, Ward said the purpose of the meeting request was to see if there was anything the city could do to make munitions easier to understand and navigate for Baxter businesses and community members. .

“So my goal is just to have a dialogue, to see if something can happen, should happen, or can’t happen,” Ward said.

Adding to this sentiment was Tabatt, who saw no reason for the request as Jack Pine did not need the city’s services.

“My personal view is that you want our prescriptions to be as clear and easy for everyone to understand as possible,” Tabatt said. “I don’t want people having to hire a lawyer to find out what they can and can’t do in town. And, as much as possible, keep everything to this minimal, easy, fair and understandable system of rules that keeps our city beautiful and attractive to visitors.

Baxter community development manager Josh Doty said the music was not part of Baxter’s zoning ordinance, applying to play music outside eligible, to some extent, for a permit.

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Josh Doty, Baxter’s Director of Community Development, discusses music in Baxter’s zoning ordinance, Tuesday, May 17, 2022, during Baxter’s workshop session.

Sara Guymon / Brainerd Dispatch

“Music is currently silent in the zoning ordinance,” Doty said. “And where the use, named use, such as live music and outdoor entertainment is not listed in the ordinance as an authorized use, it is considered unauthorized until it be added to the zoning ordinance. So the idea of ​​music being played outside is something that, if done as part of a special event, is definitely one thing, but if done permanently, it’s is another.

Saying the ordinance has worked in the past, Ward wanted a number for what the city considered ‘done permanently’ as a focal point of the conversation as council members discussed the number of events needed to vacate the estate of what is considered special.

Not coming close to a number other than saying an event held every night isn’t special, council member Connie Lyscio said an event over a weekend should be considered a special event. .

Covered by their initial request, which is 12 days, the four busiest days of Jack Pine’s year – Memorial Day weekend, 4th of July weekend, Work and their Fall Festival weekend – have all been approved by the administration.

Sundberg said the additional events he requested did not appear to require a permit based on what is defined as a special event in the city, but added that the code has conditions under which the city can refuse a permit and a number of events are not listed in the municipal decree.

Sundberg sent a letter to the board seeking approval for 12 special events between Memorial Day and Labor Day, seeking to use an area outside of its approved outdoor seating area to host concerts.

Baxter Mayor Darrel Olson said he thought the ordinance was well-defined and wondered if council’s time should be spent on something that has worked and continues to work.

“I’m just going to be really honest with you, after 40 minutes and I’m not really sure what we’ve achieved,” Olson said. “We have two different things going on, we got this special events permit and then we had this other idea of ​​how we allow something else to happen outside of that. … To me, special means you use city resources. So I’m still confused, is the prescription wrong? »

As the discussion waned towards the end of the meeting, the board remained split on what a special event was and if anything needed to be changed. Ultimately, personnel were asked to examine the ammunition.

Council asked staff to work internally with legal counsel and discuss the ordinance in context to draft proposed wording which would then be submitted to council for review and comment, the city administrator said. Baxter, Brad Chapulis.

If the changes are deemed acceptable, the city will follow the new process and proceed with the modification of the ordinance by holding a public hearing.

TIM SPEIER, editor, can be reached on Twitter


call 218-855-5859 or email

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