Council approves extended liquor-store hours

Minneapolis residents who want to pick up a late-night case of beer or bottle of liquor now have until 10 p.m. to do so.

The City Council voted 10-3 at its June 30 meeting to once again allow liquor stores to remain open until 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Last October, the Council passed an ordinance that allowed off-sale liquor stores to remain open until 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, two hours later than the previously mandated weeknight closing time of 8 p.m. and the same closing time as Fridays and Saturdays. The hours were originally changed to conform to more flexible state laws passed in 2005. But the ordinance expired on June 1, and since then liquor stores have been required to once again shut their doors by 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

The City Council's vote to extend the hours came after its Public Safety and Regulatory Services Committee overwhelmingly voted in favor of the increased hours following a public hearing at its June 21 meeting. But while the measure had significant support, several councilmembers expressed concern that extending the hours would leave neighborhoods to deal with an increase in problems such as public urination and drunkenness.

&#8220It's really about the effects additional hours and additional usage might have on our neighborhoods,” said Councilmember Diane Hofstede (3rd Ward), who voted against the measure, along with Councilmembers Elizabeth Glidden (8th Ward) and Paul Ostrow (1st Ward).

Glidden said neighborhoods were not adequately notified, and the issue was moved along too quickly by the Council. Ostrow said he sees no reason for the city to change the liquor-store hours that it has had for &#8220years and years.”

But Councilmember Ralph Remington (10th Ward) said mandating early closing times for liquor stores is old-fashioned and makes Minneapolis look like a &#8220puritanical nanny city.

&#8220Sometimes laws are archaic, and we have to address them,” Remington said. &#8220It's only two hours that we're talking about I don't think a lot of damage is going to come out of two hours.”

Councilmember Gary Schiff (9th Ward) said his office analyzed the number of police reports for liquor stores during the months they had been allowed to stay open until 10 p.m. He said the extra hours had had virtually no effect on the number of times police were called to liquor stores.

Kari VanDerVeen can be reached at [email protected] and 436-4373.