A wrench has suddenly been thrown into plans to open Paisley Park to the public this week. The Chanhassen City Council voted tonight to table a motion to rezone Prince’s studio and home for use as a museum, after several residents expressed concerns over safety and traffic and wondered whether this month is generally too soon after Prince’s death to open Paisley Park to the public.
“I think we have one chance to get this right,” said Bethany Tjornhom, one of the three-member majority who voted to table the rezoning. “For our community, being rushed into such a major decision, I just don’t think we’re being good stewards.” MPR News reports that Tjornhom successfully moved to table the rezoning request.
Paisley Park’s planned Thursday opening will now almost certainly be delayed. Fans are already reading the fine print on their tickets, many of which have been sold under the assumption that the venue would be cleared for opening. Possibly as many as 100 staff members have also been hired.
Early Tuesday morning, ticket-buyers received an e-mail reading, “The Chanhassen, Minnesota City Council voted late yesterday to table the measure which would have permitted Paisley Park to open as a museum starting this Thursday, October 6. We will email you with updates very soon.”
An attorney consulting with the Bremer Trust, which is managing Prince’s estate, told MPR News that he thinks “the next steps are to get together with the operator, determine what this means in terms of ticket sales, and moving a starting date out, potentially into the winter months, which we were hoping to avoid.”
The tabling of the motion is a blow to Chanhassen Mayor Denny Laufenburger, who previously issued a statement in support of Paisley Park opening as a museum and was one of the two-member minority voting against tabling tonight’s motion.
Representatives from the Bremer Trust and Graceland addressed the council on Monday, speaking to community concerns about fencing and other matters, and Laufenburger strongly argued for the council to approve the rezoning on Monday. For the moment, at least, a more cautious approach has prevailed.
Update 10/4: The City of Chanhassen has issued a statement about last night’s vote. “Council members cited public safety and traffic concerns, necessary site improvements, and the need for additional information on impacts to the community as reasons for the 3-2 vote to table the issue,” reads the statement in part.
The city promises to work with Paisley Park’s proprietors to “mitigate concerns,” after which “the application, with any changes, will be brought to City Council for another vote on or before December 20, 2016.” The statement adds that “PRN Music Corporation understood the risks of selling tickets prior to City Council approval,” and notes that “the City of Chanhassen has no authority on the sale or refund of tickets for Paisley Park tours.”
Mayor Laufenburger has shared a letter saluting the community for a thoughtful discussion, and reiterating his faith in the venue’s operator. Tellingly, though, the letter adds a caveat: the venue will open “once questions are addressed, and if the PUD [rezoning] is granted.” A work session is planned for next Wednesday — an announcement that seems to close the door on the possibility that Paisley Park will open this week as planned.
Prince followers: Chan City Council will meet in Work Session with City Staff and Applicant to continue answering concerns — Oct. 12, 2016 pic.twitter.com/B4IPjaqYyl
— Denny Laufenburger (@laufendh) October 4, 2016
Tickets have now been taken off sale on the Paisley Park website. “The Chanhassen, Minnesota City Council voted late yesterday to table the measure which would have permitted Paisley Park to open as a museum starting this Thursday, October 6,” reads a statement at the ticket purchase page. “We will provide more updates soon.”