A 2013 proposal to allow sidewalk merchandise displays in Minneapolis is moving forward at City Hall.

Existing ordinances require that all business activities remain within a building. Some exceptions include auto sales, gas stations, lawn sales and drive-throughs.

The ordinance change is being pushed by Council Member Elizabeth Glidden, who said last year that it would benefit businesses like small grocery stores, bookstores and secondhand good shops.

"We're really trying to encourage walkable neighborhoods and walkable business districts," Glidden told the Star Tribune in 2013.

The item will be discussed by the planning commission Monday afternoon, followed by the city council itself.

City Planner Mei-Ling Anderson wrote in a letter to business and neighborhood leaders that the merchandise displays will be required to leave at least five feet of sidwalk right of way.

The text of the proposed ordinance says sales would be allowed between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Sales of liquor, tobacco and sexually oriented images will be prohibited outdoors.

"Having that retail/dining experience right in the midst of the urban environment can be a really fun and enjoyable thing," Glidden said.

Photo: A sidewalk display on Queen Street in Toronto. Taken by Flickr user Virgomerry, used under Creative Commons license.