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Spicer OKs 2 a.m. license for Zorbaz

SPICER — Zorbaz on Green Lake will be allowed to stay open until 2 a.m. for at least one more year.

The Spicer City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday to renew an annual permit for Zorbaz following a lengthy discussion, said City Administrator Leslie Valiant.

Council members Jerry Reierson, Troy Block and Shelly Munyon voted yes and councilwoman Robin deCathelineau and Mayor Denny Baker voted no. Zorbaz is the only bar in Kandiyohi County that is open until 2 a.m. All others close at 1 a.m.

Kandiyohi County Sheriff Dan Hartog has opposed the 2 a.m. closing time ever since Zorbaz was first granted the permit two years ago.

Hartog said three of four deputies are located near the bar’s parking lot every Friday and Saturday night to try to deter the kind of bad behavior that results in frequent calls for police service there.

So far this year, the Sheriff’s Office has responded to 52 reports at Zorbaz, including assaults, fights, disorderly conduct, theft and urinating in public.

Hartog said 22 of those calls for service took place after 2 a.m.

Valiant said Zorbaz owners, Cole Hanson and Scott Schulte, told the council that they hire at least five private security guards on weekends, their staff undergoes vigorous training and the bar/restaurant has not had any underage drinking violations.

Most of the problems appear to happen in the parking lot, after customers leave Zorbaz.

Valiant said the council heard concerns from a resident to the east of Zorbaz who wrote a letter complaining of bar patrons yelling and walking by his cabin in early morning hours and littering his property.

In approving the permit, Valiant said the council placed no additional restrictions on the 2 a.m. closure but advised Zorbaz to continue to monitor their customers, especially when they leave the building at closing time.

Valiant said the business has “basically done everything the city has requested” in terms of how they operate their business until 2 a.m.

“They do respond to anything we ask,” said Valiant, adding that the city has a good relationship with the management at Zorbaz. “And we want to keep it that way,” she said.

The city contracts with the county Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement service. Hartog said the 2015 contract may need to be adjusted if calls for service to Zorbaz are not reduced.

Valiant said Hanson and Schulte talked about the positive economic impact Zorbaz has on the Spicer community, including an $800,000 payroll, a $2 million investment in the property and contributing thousands of dollars to local charities and employee scholarships.

As with any liquor license, Valiant said the city has the option of revoking the 2 a.m. permit at Zorbaz at any time.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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