The tornado that ripped through north Minneapolis last year destroyed the building of Broadway Liquor Outlet -- but not the business created by the Rose family over three generations

State lawmakers are considering special legislation allowing Broadway Liquor owner Dean Rose to bypass city zoning regulations and build a new store across the street, as part of a bigger development project by Steve Minn.

A Senate panel approved a measure Friday that would allow the liquor business to relocate across the street. The proposal, contained in an omnibus liquor bill, next goes to the full Senate for approval. A House committee could take up the bill as early as this week.

In a letter to legislators, Mayor R.T. Rybak and Council Member Don Samuels argued that the business needs a special state-granted liquor license because the city otherwise would have to undertake the lengthy process of rezoning the new location, among other issues.

The measure is needed "to seize on this unique opportunity to build a superior commercial corridor where the city is currently constrained," they wrote.

The obstacle: the new location appears to violate a city requirement that liquor store licenses be granted only in areas within five contiguous acres of commercial zoning, according to officials.

Samuels also said a liquor store at that location would go against city charter requirements that liquor stores keep a certain distance from churches and schools.

"Rather than going through a lengthy process, which someone from outer space would look at and say, 'These humans are ridiculous, why don't they just move the business across the street?' We're trying to do the wise and prudent, logical thing," said Samuels, who represents the North Side.

Broadway Liquor is looking to erect a temporary replacement store on the site of its damaged building as the new one is built at the intersection of W. Broadway and Penn Avenue N.

Rose, who was not available for comment, hired lobbyist and former City Council President Jackie Cherryhomes to represent him in the matter. She is also representing Minn in the development.

Supporters want the City Council to pass a resolution backing the legislation on March 30 and are trying to round up as many members as they can to sign the letter of support.

Council Member Gary Schiff said he will not be one of them.

"I am really sympathetic towards this guy, and he just wants to move across the street into a new building and that's great for West Broadway," said Schiff. "But why don't we just do away with the [zoning requirement] so we're not just doing this for one person?"

Maya Rao • 612-673-4210