A proposed liquor store as part of the Kowalski’s market at 24th & Hennepin will be welcome news to amateur sommeliers in the neighborhood. Assuming Kowaksi’s receives its necessary permits to open the bottle shop (and there is little reason why they shouldn’t), the new store would create another 2,000 foot “no go” zone for other liquor retailers — a restriction illustrated in the map below (updated from a previous post discussing the City’s regulatory barriers to opening liquor stores).
While there are certainly larger fish to fry in the world–and the city–this remains an example of land use controls being used for a purpose that is only arguably in the public interest. The legality of these types of restrictions is well established: yes, the City can enforce a 2,000 foot distance requirement from one liquor store to another, and yes, they can require a 300 foot space between the property lines of a liquor store and of a school or religious institution.
But what rationales support these rules today? And presuming there are noble goals at work, might there be another way to accomplish them without impairing entrepreneurs and folks who just want to be able to walk to a nearby store to pick up a four-pack of the delicious, pungent, perfectly bitter, and utterly brilliant Surly Wet? (Or Coors Light. Whatever.)
Food–or drink–for thought.
Edited 7/29/11: Corrected typo in map subtitle.