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Crow Wing County Board denies Malinowski rezoning request for dance hall

A rezoning request related to a dance hall business in St. Mathias Township was denied Tuesday.

Mark Malinowski requested amending the land use map from agricultural/forestry to commercial two for 2.5 acres. The county’s planning commission recommended denial of the request to rezone Malinowski’s dance hall. The county board voted to deny the rezoning request.

Malinowski was granted a conditional use permit to allow him to rent the upper level of a barn for weddings and other events with up to 300 people. The property is off County Road 121. The conditional use permit comes with 12 conditions, including no music outside and keeping parking onsite and outside the road right-of-way. There were conditions on lighting and Department of Health permits, such as those for catering and alcohol service, must be obtained.

Amending the land use to commercial two would allow the sale of 3.2 beer. Malinowski planned to have the dance hall open on Fridays and Saturday from April 1-Oct. 31.

A neighboring property owner Peter Schmitz spoke against the rezoning, noting it opened the door for any number of commercial uses in a quiet and rural setting. Neighboring residents spoke of concerns for noise and traffic and litter.

Malinowski said none of the neighbors contacted him or asked questions even after he provided his cell phone number.

“So I’m disappointed in the denial,” Malinowski said.

While he appreciated the conditional use permit approval, Malinowski questioned whether a prohibition again commercial camping would mean wedding party guests would not be able to stay overnight. Malinowski said allowing them to stay, perhaps in a camper, was a way to assure no one was driving under the influence and assisted as the wedding party cleans up after the event. The county said that type of camping guest shouldn’t be a problem to allow.

Malinowski said he’d like to be contacted if anyone has questions as he wants to have a country music laid-back wedding dance place.

Malinowski said he would have security on site or be there himself for events and would patrol the road for litter.

Commissioner Phil Trusty, who represents the area, said he’s heard from residents against the dance hall and those who want to give it a chance.

Land Services Supervisor Chris Pence said the 2011 ordinance revisions opened the door for more conditional use permits for commercial activity in the county while limiting rezoning.

Commercial Paul Thiede said while the commercial options were expanded, the changes allowed better control so the commercial wasn’t so haphazard.

In other business, the board:

Agreed during its Committee of the Whole session that the county could spend $20,000-$40,000 for a storage needs study for the Law Enforcement Center and look at all available county space including the third floor of the historic courthouse. Nystrom said the county could benefit from a fresh set of eyes.

“How can you make a decision if you have a pillowcase over your head,” Nystrom said. “It’s like stopping to buy a map before we head off on a cross-country trip.”

Set a public hearing date of 10 a.m. May 8 for mapping land for future highway purposes. The city of East Gull Lake asked the county to map a future segment of road on the west county line, going south from Green Gables Road, about 2,300 feet. The county noted previous discussions have taken place to indicate while the county supports adopting the official map, should the future road be built, it would be at no cost to the First Assessment District since Shady Lane is already in place and serves the needs of residents.

RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
(218) 855-5852