Minneapolis restaurateurs are getting into politics ahead of the Nov. 6 vote – not to support a candidate, but a ballot measure that would change what they call an outdated rule regarding their business.
That rule, the so-called "7-acre rule," is a city ordinance that restricts hard alcohol sales to restaurants that are within "7 contiguous commercial acres."
Translation: It's currently illegal for eateries outside of big commercial zones like downtown Minneapolis to sell cocktails, unless they're willing to lobby the state and pay tens of thousands of dollars in fees to get an exemption.
That, restaurant owner and chef Steven Brown writes in a Star Tribune op-ed, is "untenable" for smaller businesses who can't afford the time and expense to get around the ordinance, creating what he calls "an uneven playing field" in the city.
That's why he and the group he heads, Citizens for a Modern Minneapolis, are backing the so-called "1 Minneapolis," a new ballot initiative that would overturn the 7-acre rule.
They've dubbed their movement "YES ON 1 MPLS."
More about the 7-acre rule
The rule also means a great deal of restaurants outside of downtown are unable to reap the benefits of liquor sales, putting them at a disadvantage to their competition.
As KARE 11 points out, these spacing restrictions date back to the 19th Century, and were aimed at keeping booze sales near the riverfront, "where police walking their beats could keep a better eye on the activity."
The initiative to undo the law is on Minneapolis ballots for the Nov. 6 election.
Though there doesn't seem to be much opposition to the measure, there is one challenge facing the movement, KSTP notes: passage would require 55 percent approval – as opposed to the usual 51 percent – because "the state has a higher threshold" when it comes to liquor-related votes.
However, the station says, if it does pass, it will go into effect on Dec. 7 – allowing all Minneapolis restaurants to pursue licenses to sell cocktails about a month after the vote.
"YES ON 1 MPLS" has a GoFundMe page seeking financial support for the campaign to overturn the 7-acre rule.
As of this writing, it's raised $160 of a $10,000 goal.
You can learn more about the movement by clicking here.