Broadway & Marshall liquor store proposal survives appeal, but faces new problems

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May 15, 2014
By: Ben Johnson
An early rendering of the proposed liquor store
Ben Johnson

The controversial proposal to build a liquor store at the corner of Broadway and Marshall survived an appeal brought forward by a group of concerned neighbors, but it now faces new challenges surrounding landscaping requirements.

The City Council Zoning and Planning Committee heard an appeal of the Planning Commission’s unanimous approval of the liquor store this morning. Opponents of the proposal testified for 45 minutes before the committee, bringing up concerns about traffic safety, losing the right-of-way to continue a bike lane northbound on Marshall, the addition of more liquor to the neighborhood contributing to livability issues, and questions about whether the small, single-story building fit in with guidelines set by Minneapolis’ Comprehensive Plan and the Above the Falls Master Plan.

After the testimony Ward 1 City Council Member Kevin Reich, whose Northeast ward borders the liquor store, offered an amendment that would force the liquor store to redirect all of its traffic to 11th Street, allowing no curb cuts along Broadway or Marshall in response to traffic concerns. The current site plan, negotiated with city public works, allows cars to enter the store on Marshall but not Broadway.

Reich’s amendment would have also mandated the liquor store to adhere to all landscape zoning requirements at the site. The plans approved by the Planning Commission allowed for ‘alternative compliance,’ in which onsite landscaping is allowed to spill into neighboring city land in order to meet greening standards.

“With not providing landscaping in the [city’s land] and instead providing that all onsite, that means that all of the parking spaces would have to be shifted at least five feet to the north, so to avoid a parking variance they’d have to shrink the building,” said city planner Janelle Widemeier.

Reich’s amendment failed on a 3-3 vote, but afterward Ward 7 City Council Member Lisa Goodman brought forward an amendment that scrapped the provision redirecting traffic, but kept the landscaping provision. That amendment passed 5-1, with City Council Member (and Planning Commissioner) Lisa Bender casting the sole ‘nay’ vote.

“Look, they can put trees in anyway, we’re just saying you don’t get a bonus for putting trees in our right-of-way, which business owners should be doing anyway,” said Goodman. “What we’re saying is ‘put trees in and comply with our parking lot greening requirement.’”

It’s too early to tell whether the more stringent landscaping requirements will sink the proposal. Steve Krause, who would own the new store with his son, Jason Krause, declined to comment when reached after the hearing.

Krause has previously complained about the amount of money he already spent paying engineers and architects to come up with a site plan, and the amount of time spent trying to convince neighbors to support his proposal.

Now it seems he will have to pay to go back to the drawing board once again, and modify the site plan to include adequate green space and plantings. The proposal was slated for full City Council approval on May 23, but that may be pushed back to give Krause’s team more time to adjust its plans.