Minneapolis Sidewalk Sales Ordinance Changing

Updated: 04/11/2014 10:24 PM KSTP.com By: Todd Wilson

The City of Minneapolis is looking into enhancing business practices by revamping its sidewalk sales ordinance. The proposal has passed one hurdle.

You would be hard pressed to miss the outside display of Avalon Gift Shop on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. Employee Sarah Faltesek says, there's a rack for sunglasses, another for postcards and a mannequin with a horse head on it.

"People will stop, laugh, they'll try it on, they'll photograph themselves trying it on and then they come in the store," she said.

That's what it is all about, drawing in business. In order for a business to have sidewalk sales in the city of St. Paul, they are required to register with the Right of Way Permit Desk and proof of insurance naming the city as additional insured. Public works would then dole out an obstruction permit.

Across the river in Minneapolis at Magers & Quinn Booksellers in Uptown, Aaron Rosenberg says, they've displayed the sidewalk for as long as he can remember.

"I think all 20 years we've always put stuff out," he said.

Jack Malone - Povolony says, the book rack outside always catches his eye.

"And then they always want to make me step inside because it reminds you of a book you wanted to get," he said.

But in Minneapolis the only commercial businesses allowed to have sidewalk sales are hardware stores, gas stations to car dealerships.

"I don't think we knew that," Rosenberg said.

Change is in the air. There's a proposal that would permit all businesses in Minneapolis to display goods, with some restrictions. 

The proposal would require at least five feet of right of way next to any display. That is a foot longer than what's required for a sidewalk café.

Faltesek says she is quite surprised Minneapolis didn't already have this on the books.

"I guess it would seem like common sense right," she said.

The ordinance was recently was approved by the Planning Commission, on April 7, it still must be approved by the city council at an upcoming meeting that is yet to be set. If it passes business licensing will take over enforcement of this ordinance.