City has new tool to handle businesses with violations

The City of Minneapolis now has more authority to impose restrictions on problem businesses.

The City Council voted Friday, Feb. 22 to amend an ordinance to allow the City to impose business license conditions on businesses that have been unwilling to take reasonable steps to correct documented violations that threaten public safety and community livability.

In most cases when a business has violations, the City and business owner have been able to work together to negotiate conditions to correct the problems. Currently, less than one percent of businesses in Minneapolis have license conditions. However, a very small number of troublesome business owners have been unwilling to negotiate conditions. In those instances, the City’s only course of action is to begin the license revocation or denial process, a time-consuming and expensive process that can take months or years. Giving the City more authority to impose restrictions will help reduce the need to go through this process in the future.

City ordinance now gives the City an additional tool to correct problems with uncooperative businesses. Among other things, the ordinance will allow the City to limit hours of operation, restrict where liquor can be sold, limit occupancy levels, limit the means of ingress or egress, and/or restrict where people under age 21 can be admitted. The process includes checks and balances to ensure that the business is afforded due process and includes the opportunity for an independent third party review. In order to impose license conditions, a quasi-judicial hearing is required and the condition must be approved by the full City Council.

Published Feb 25, 2013