Delano Lanes gets OK for outdoor dances

The Delano City Council Wednesday, Aug. 8, approved a request from Delano Lanes and Entertainment to host outdoor dances and music once a month this summer and fall at 429 Babcock Blvd. E. (Highway 12).

The approval came after Delano Lanes down-sized its original request from once a week dances to once a month events.

Delano Lanes and Entertainment Center in Delano is building this outdoor band shell to help in shielding residents from the sound of music. (Photo by Susan Van Cleaf)
Delano Lanes and Entertainment Center in Delano is building this outdoor band shell to help in shielding residents from the sound of music. (Photo by Susan Van Cleaf)

After Doc Holiday’s restaurant and bowling center closed its doors on Highway 12, Lindsey Emery brought in the Delano Lanes and Entertainment Center. Outdoor dancing and musical entertainment is one of the center’s venues for attracting clientele. But its first attempt in May resulted in nine complaints from residents — some from a mile away — about the sound, said City Administrator Phil Kern.

The City Council directed city staff to work with Delano Lanes on measures for reducing noise at the property line, parking, security, serving alcohol to underage patrons and garbage control.

Kern described the results. At a July 24 special City Council meeting, Delano Lanes asked for approval to complete a band shell it has been building to contain noise. The center also asked to host outdoor dances every Saturday during this summer and fall. The City Council decided the proposal needed more work.

On Aug. 8, Emery said her business is “trying to be good neighbors” and is committed to bringing back family entertainment to the old Doc Holiday’s site. Plans call for not only indoor food and bowling, but also outdoor volleyball, bocce ball, bean bags, food, drink and dances.

Kern said the latest Delano Lanes request scales down outdoor dances from every Saturday to the second Saturday of each month, thus cutting events from 13 to three through this fall. The center asked for permission to change dates when bad weather happens on originally approved dates. Delano Lanes would need to get future City Council approval for outdoor dance dates in 2013.

The Delano Lanes request includes completing the band shell and erecting fences around the outdoor dance area to reduce noise, on site parking and security people monitoring noise and underage drinking. Music will be cut off at midnight. Outdoor alcohol sales will be cut off at 11 p.m.

Delano Lanes purchased noise-monitoring equipment and agreed to follow Minnesota Pollution Control Agency noise guidelines. Kern said the MPCA has a complicated and thorough process for monitoring noise levels. Limits are between 65 to 75 decibels — half the time under 65 decibels and 95 percent of the time under 75 decibels at the property line. Ordinary conversations average 60 decibels. Truck traffic on Highway 12, averaging 80 decibels, would exceed MPCA limits.

During the public hearing, Gordy Torgerud presented a letter signed by 25 “concerned citizens.” Torgerud lives on Kelsey Street, the western edge of Delano Lanes. He wanted the City Council to recognize that the letter pertains to complaints of neighbors about the event in May.

Another resident said he could not hear his TV in his bedroom in the middle of the night during the May event.

A Delano resident said he used to enforce MPCA noise regulations. In one instance, noise from a person’s air conditioner exceeded MPCA guidelines. He did not agree with Delano Lanes self-policing its noise levels. He also wanted the Delano Lanes request to come before the entire City Council. (City Councilor Derek Schansberg and Mayor Dale Graunke were not present.)

City Councilor Dan Vick said he wanted to give Delano Lanes a chance.

Fellow councilor Holly Schrupp said, “If you call me (about excessive noise), I guarantee you I will get out of bed and check it out.”

Vick said he would do the same.

City Council Betsy Stolfa said she found it “really reassuring” that the outdoor dances would not be every weekend.

Then the City Council approved the Delano Lanes request to hold three outdoor dances this year, subject to review if the city receives complaints. City Administrator Kern said people with complaints should alert the Wright County Sheriff by calling 911 during an event. During regular business hours, people with complaints should call Delano City Hall, 763-972-0550.