Council delays decisions on local businesses again

For the better part of 2020, the North Branch City Council has been wrestling with having to revoke the license or permit for two long-standing businesses in the city, which would greatly hinder their ability to effectively stay open. During the July 28 council meeting, the council again delayed taking any formal action against Terry’s Disposal and J.J.’s Bowl and Lounge.

Terry’s disposal

In the case of Terry’s Disposal, the council had given the refuse business until the end of July to clean up their property and remove a large amount of materials that violated their conditional use permit with the city. During the council’s July 21 work session, the council was informed by GIS Planning Specialist Nathan Sondrol that “a vast improvement to the cleanup of the site had been completed.” However, Sondrol also said there was a “significant” amount that still remained.

In light of the fact the original stipulations presented by the council was a complete cleanup of the site, the council was asked for direction on whether the city should go forward with the revocation of only the conditional use permit, but not of their hauler’s license.

City Administrator Renae Fry pointed out a revocation of the CUP would mean that Terry’s could not keep any refuse on site, and they would have to directly transport all trash collected to an outside transfer station, much like they currently must do with recycling.

Sondrol added that Chisago County also had some stipulations for Terry’s keeping their county hauler’s license, which had a deadline of Aug. 3. If Terry’s doesn’t meet those stipulations, the county could revoke their hauler’s license, which according to Fry “would have a cascading effect in that it would affect their city hauler’s license.”

The council agreed to put on their July 28 council meeting consent agenda an action item delaying the city’s decision on revoking Terry’s CUP until after finding out the county’s decision on their hauler’s license.

 J.J.’s Bowl and Lounge

With J.J.’s, the business has been in violation of their liquor license since April, 2019 due to the closing of Karma Grill. Part of their liquor license dictates their be a full operating kitchen.

The council has twice given J.J.’s a 90-day extension in order to find a new restaurant to operate out of the same building. However in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have been unsuccessful. 

Kelly Distodeau Mohn, who is the new bar manager, came before the council to ask that one more 90-day extension be granted.

“We have been trying to get someone into the restaurant, but a lot of people don’t want to start up a food place because of COVID,” she said, adding that there is someone who is very interested who was touring the building at that very moment.

She added they do serve frozen pizza and allow customers to have food delivered, but that wasn’t enough to satisfy their liquor license.

After brief discussion, the council unanimously approved granting another 90-day extension.

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