In St. Paul, a restaurant can't get a liquor license without permission from houses of worship or schools within 300 feet of its property.

City officials say that restriction is antiquated, and they're considering an ordinance change to nix the 300-foot rule for churches citywide, as well as for schools located downtown.

Council Member Rebecca Noecker, who is sponsoring the ordinance and whose ward includes downtown, said restrictions around churches and synagogues have been deemed unconstitutional, so that part of the ordinance had to change.

Eliminating restrictions around downtown schools is one of a ­number of ­proposed ordinance changes intended to make it easier to operate businesses downtown, she said.

"Downtown is a really unique kind of environment, where what makes it special is the intersection and the overlapping of all of these different kinds of uses," she said.

The proposal comes a few months after the St. Paul Conservatory for the Performing Arts at 16 W. 5th St. asked the city to suspend liquor sales at Gray Duck Tavern, which shares a building with the downtown school. The school claimed the city had issued Gray Duck's liquor license without its permission.

Members of the public will have an opportunity to comment on the proposed ordinance change at a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall. The council will likely vote the following week.

Emma Nelson 612 673-4509