Prospect Park tries to restrict new liquor licenses

Pizza and beer often seem to go hand in hand, and as Campus Pizza moves into a new Stadium Village location, itâÄôs trying to expand its alcoholic offerings. The restaurant applied for a liquor license last week, but the nearby zoning committee is trying to put restrictions on the application. Campus Pizza currently has a wine and 3.2 percent beer license. Florence Littman, co-chairwoman of the Prospect Park East River Road Improvement Association zoning committee , said she is worried about the whole area advertising and selling liquor. âÄúThe biggest problem is the fact that our drunk-driving laws are so bad,âÄù she said, concerned about the proliferation of liquor licenses. One of the restrictions Littman favors is for restaurants to promote nonalcoholic beverages in addition to alcohol, she said. Littman also said she wants the licenses to require the businesses with them to sell food. Campus Pizza owner Jim Rosvold said if he receives the license, the restaurant would be a nice place to have pizza and a drink. He expects the process to take between eight and 10 weeks. âÄúThey want to make sure that if they grant the license, the person they grant the license to can handle it and is successful,âÄù Rosvold said. The application process is extensive and includes a criminal background check of primary shareholders and other managers where applicable, licensing inspector Linda Roberts said. Financial background, the business plan, zoning and the security plan are also included in the basic review conducted by the Minneapolis licensing committee, she said. âÄúAny new liquor application would have a public hearing that is conducted by licensing and then held in the community,âÄù Roberts said. The public hearing includes neighboring businesses, the neighborhood association and someone from the licensing staff. âÄúLicensing staff prepares a recommendation for [the Minneapolis] City Council, and then they vote on our recommendation,âÄù Roberts said. âÄúThe council has full discretion to consider a recommendation.âÄù Rosvold said selling liquor would provide an additional revenue source to compensate for the increased rent and the remodeling costs in its upcoming location in the Stadium Village Mall. But licenses arenâÄôt cheap. Full liquor licenses range in price from $6,222 for an E-class license to $9,986 for an A-class annually, Roberts said. She said the difference between the levels is the amount of entertainment provided, with an A-class facility offering live performances. Down the street, The Big 10 has a full liquor license. Co-owner Todd Dupont said they restaurant received the license four years ago after operating under a wine and strong beer license. âÄúAs long as Campus Pizza has followed all the rules and regulations prior to their application process, I think itâÄôs absolutely just fine to have yet another establishment that gives choice to the University students, staff and alumni,âÄù Dupont said.