City of Rochester, NY
Monroe County
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[Added 5-14-1996 by Ord. No. 96-137; amended 11-19-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-354; 11-23-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-369;[1]2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22; 11-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-366[2]]
[1]:
Editor's Note: Section 2 of this ordinance provided that a certificate of use which was valid on the effective date of this ordinance and allowed an activity deemed to be a business under this ordinance would remain in effect as provided in the certificate until the expiration of the time period set forth in the notification letter referenced in §90-39, but in no case later than one year from the effective date of this article, unless earlier nullified, suspended or revoked.
Section 3 of this ordinance provided that any business which prior to the effective date of this article was not required to obtain a certificate of use would be required to apply for a certificate no later than 30 days after receiving a letter notifying it of the requirement to apply.
[2]:
Editor's Note: This ordinance also provided that Businesses which have failed to apply for a required certificate of use by the date of adoption of this ordinance shall be notified and given 30 days to apply for a business permit. If application for a business permit is made within that time, outstanding tickets and judgments against the business for failure to obtain a certificate of use will be withdrawn and any payments made on the judgments refunded by the Director of Finance. Pending enforcement actions involving businesses that failed to obtain a required certificate of use, which have been adjourned pending a review of the Certificate of Use Program, will be pursued if the businesses do not timely apply for a required business permit. In addition this ordinance provided that it shall take effect 1-1-2007.

§ 90-31 Purpose.

The purpose of this article is to establish regulatory controls to ensure that certain businesses are operating in accordance with the law, do not have a serious negative impact upon surrounding residential neighborhoods, or do not endanger the health, safety or welfare of persons in the City of Rochester.

§ 90-32 Definitions.

[Amended 9-19-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-362]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AUTOMOBILE SERVICE FACILITY
A premises where motor vehicles are sold, leased, repaired or serviced. This definition shall include gasoline stations and car wash facilities.
BAR
A premises where alcoholic beverages are sold for consumption on the premises; or a premises operated for profit or pecuniary gain or as a place of assembly where alcoholic beverages are provided by the operator of the premises, his or her agents, servants or employees, or are brought onto said premises by persons assembling there.
BUSINESS
An automobile service facility, bar, restaurant, retail store or salon as defined herein.
RESTAURANT
A premises where food and/or beverages are sold to be consumed on the premises. This definition shall not include a premises where a nonalcoholic beverage or snack is available but is incidental to the conduct of the business at the premises.
RETAIL STORE
Any business not otherwise covered by this section which is accessible to the public, where food, goods, merchandise or equipment is sold at retail and where tobacco, tobacco paraphernalia, smoking paraphernalia, beer, wine coolers, and/or lottery tickets are sold, in a premises with a total floor space of less than 20,000 square feet.
SALON
An establishment where a hairdresser, barber or beautician conducts his or her trade, or a body piercing studio or a tattoo studio, other than a home occupation.

§ 90-33 Business permit required.

[Amended 7-15-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-254; 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179; 9-19-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-362]
No person shall operate or maintain a business within the City without first obtaining a business permit authorizing the operation of said business by said operator at the specific business location. The authority for business permits issued pursuant to this chapter shall be the Commissioner. Businesses that have been issued a license(s) by the Chief of Police are exempt from the business permit requirement.

§ 90-34 Application.

A. 
An application for a business permit shall be made by the business owner and operator, if other than owner, on forms provided by the Commissioner. The application shall request relevant information relating to the owner and operator, if any, of the business to be conducted at the premises. Where the owner is not directly involved with the day-to-day operation of said business, the operator must also be included on the application. If a partnership, corporation or other business entity is involved, the application must designate an operator who is involved in the day-to-day operation of the business. In this situation the business permit shall be issued to the operator; the names, addresses and phone numbers of the partners, officers or principals shall be listed on the application. All addresses of persons involved shall be home addresses, listing street and number.
[Amended 7-15-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-254; 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
B. 
Applications shall only be accepted where all information requested has been supplied and verified for accuracy. Anyone currently serving a period of suspension or revocation, or who has had an application for a business permit denied, is ineligible to apply for a business permit during a period of suspension or for a period of one year from the date of revocation or denial. The applicant(s) must also demonstrate to the Department that he or she has procured all necessary licenses and permits for the business.
[Amended 7-15-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-254; 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
C. 
The Director of Planning and Zoning shall cause a review of the location to ensure that the operation of the business at that location will be in compliance with the Zoning Code.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
D. 
The Chief of Police shall cause an investigation to be made of the background of the owner, operator and location of the business, including, but not limited to, a review of all calls for service to the location of the premises in the past year and a criminal records check of the owner and operator.
E. 
Except as provided in New York Correction Law, Article 23-A, the Commissioner reserves the right to deny a business permit to any person who has pled guilty to or has been convicted of any crime which is related to the operation of the business.
[Amended 7-15-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-254; 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
F. 
The Commissioner shall cause an application to be administratively canceled if the applicant fails, with respect to the business or business premises, upon receipt of written notice and time to cure, to abate code violations, or to pay any outstanding judgments rendered by the Municipal Code Violation Bureau, or to complete a building permit or zoning application, or to provide proof of payment of sales tax.
[Amended 7-15-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-254; 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179; 9-19-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-362]
G. 
The applicant shall provide proof of payment of sales tax where the business has been ongoing.
[Added 9-19-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-362]

§ 90-35 Inspections.

[Amended 7-15-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-254; 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
The Commissioner and the Fire Chief may cause an inspection of the premises to be made to determine whether the applicant is in compliance with the laws and ordinances which they are charged with enforcing. For purposes of a renewal application, no inspection shall be required by the Department unless during the previous licensing period a violation of a state or local law, ordinance or regulation which occurred at the premises has been proven in a court of law or in the Municipal Code Violations Bureau. Said Commissioner and Fire Chief and members of their staff shall have the right to enter upon any premises for which a business permit is sought when the business is open for the purpose of making such an inspection of areas open to the public, or other areas with consent, and shall also have the authority to seek warrants where the same are constitutionally required.

§ 90-36 Issuance of business permit.

A. 
All new applications for a business permit as of the effective date of this article shall be issued or denied within 30 days after an inspection has found the premises to be code compliant, or within 30 days after receipt of a fully completed application if no inspection needs to be conducted.
B. 
No business permit shall be issued unless the applicant and business have fully complied with the provisions of this article and have obtained all necessary licenses and permits for the operation. No business permit shall be issued to a premises while charges are pending pursuant to § 3-15 of the City Charter, or while any other nuisance abatement proceeding or action is pending against the premises.
C. 
No business permit shall be issued unless the business premises is in compliance with the Municipal Code.
D. 
No business permit shall be issued to any business or applicant against whom judgment has been rendered by the Municipal Code Violation Bureau relating to the business or business premises, which judgment has not been satisfied.
E. 
No business permit shall be issued for a period of one year after the applicant has been found guilty of operating a business without a business permit.

§ 90-37 Operation of businesses.

A. 
The owner and operator of any business shall comply with all provisions of federal, state and local laws and ordinances relating to the conduct of businesses and the occupation, use and maintenance of the premises.
B. 
The owner and operator of any business shall comply with all the notices, orders, decisions and rules and regulations made by the Chief of Police, Fire Chief, Commissioner and the Director of Planning and Zoning governing the occupation and use of the premises.
[Amended 7-15-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-254; 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
C. 
The business owner and operator shall not employ any person who has had a business permit revoked or denied within the past year, where the underlying violations involved dangerous weapons or the sale of illegal drugs.
D. 
The owner or operator of any business shall cause the business permit to be posted in a conspicuous place immediately visible upon entering the business.
E. 
The owner or operator of any business shall not permit at any time a greater number of persons on the premises than the capacity authorized by the City. All places of public assembly shall have occupancy signs posted as required by the Building Code of New York State.
F. 
The owner or operator of any business shall maintain good order on and about the premises at all times when the business is open. The premises shall include the building in which the business is located, as well as accessory structures and uses, including parking lots, and the land on which the building is located. The owner or operator of any business shall be responsible to remove refuse and obstructions from the sidewalk in accordance with Municipal Code requirements, and to operate the business so that neither the business nor its patrons become a source of disruption on the sidewalks, streets or other private property in the vicinity of the business. The lack of good order shall include, but not be limited to, suffering or permitting the following:
(1) 
The premises to become disorderly, including fighting or lewdness.
(2) 
Gambling.
(3) 
Prostitution.
(4) 
Illegal possession, use, gift, sale, or offer for sale of alcoholic beverages.
(5) 
Illegal possession, use, gift, sale, or offer for sale of cigarettes or tobacco products.
(6) 
Food stamp or welfare fraud or criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions.
(7) 
Litter.
(8) 
Possession, use, gift, sale, or offer for sale of illegal drugs.
(9) 
Noise violations.
(10) 
Possession of stolen property.
(11) 
Operating beyond the legal hours of operation.
(12) 
Illegal possession, use, gift, sale, or offer for sale of dangerous weapons.
(13) 
Unlawfully dealing with a child or allowing or permitting sexual performances by a child.
(14) 
Any other nuisance activity listed in § 3-15 of the City Charter.
G. 
The Commissioner may promulgate rules and regulations to govern the operation of business permit under this chapter so as to provide for the orderly operation of the businesses and to ensure the public safety and the peace and tranquility of the neighborhood where the businesses are located.
[Amended 7-15-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-254; 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]

§ 90-38 Fees.

A. 
The annual fee for a business permit shall be $25; the fee for the replacement of a lost permit shall be $10. The annual fee for renewal applications which are submitted within 30 days after the mailing of a renewal notice by the City shall be waived. The fee for a conditional business permit as set forth in § 90-41B shall be $300. The fee for a business permit shall be waived for any business that possesses either a current entertainment license, a secondhand dealer license, an amusement center license, or a pawnbroker license, but there shall be no waiver of fees for a conditional business permit.
B. 
Payment of the fee shall be due at the time the application is submitted by the applicant. All fees shall be nonrefundable.

§ 90-39 Expiration of business permit.

A. 
All business permits issued after the effective date of this article shall expire one year from the date of issuance of the business permit, unless the business permit has been suspended or revoked.
B. 
The Commissioner shall send a letter notifying the business permit holder(s) of the expiration of the business permit at least 60 days prior to the expiration date. Only businesses which have submitted a renewal application 30 days prior to the expiration date of their business permit shall be allowed to continue to operate past the expiration date until such time as a final determination is rendered on their renewal application.
[Amended 7-15-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-254; 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]

§ 90-40 Transfer of business permit.

A. 
Business permits shall not be transferred. In the event of any change involving the owner or operator of the business, the type of business, the name of the business or the business location a new business permit shall be required. A business permit shall not be transferred to any person who holds power of attorney.
B. 
A business permit shall be deemed null and void when the business permit holder is not found operating the business for a period of one month and fails to respond in person to the Department after having been sent a seven-day notification letter.
[Amended 7-15-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-254; 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]

§ 90-41 Denial of business permit.

[Amended 7-15-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-254; 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
A. 
The Commissioner may deny a business permit or deny the renewal of a business permit to any applicant who does not comply with the provisions of this chapter or any rule or regulation promulgated under this chapter, or who makes a material misrepresentation on the business permit application, or who is serving a period of suspension or revocation. The Commissioner shall give a written notification to an applicant of the reasons for the denial of a business permit and provide the applicant with an opportunity to respond in writing.
B. 
When the investigation conducted pursuant to § 90-34 reveals that the applicant has violated either federal, state or local laws or rules and regulations, the Commissioner may authorize the issuance of a conditional business permit. The conditional business permit shall state the grounds for the conditional business permit, the conditions under which the applicant shall operate his or her business, be signed by the applicant, and contain a provision which provides that any violation of the conditional business permit, as solely determined by the City of Rochester, shall be deemed to be grounds for revoking the conditional business permit.

§ 90-42 Revocation of business permit.

[Amended 7-15-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-254; 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
A. 
The Commissioner, after a hearing has been conducted, shall have the authority to revoke a business permit pursuant to this Code for a violation by the business permit holder, his or her agents or employees of any provision of this article that would provide a basis for denying a business permit.
B. 
The Commissioner may revoke, without a hearing, the business permit of any person found guilty of either two or more high-level violations, as determined by and listed in § 3-15B(1) of the City of Rochester Charter, occurring on separate occasions during any period of one year, or five or more violations occurring within a period of two years. Nothing herein shall prevent the Commissioner from revoking a business permit of any person on written charges and an opportunity for a hearing thereon.

§ 90-43 Summary suspensions: general provisions.

[Added 9-19-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-362]
A. 
When the Commissioner finds the public health, safety, or welfare imperatively requires emergency action, and incorporates a finding to that effect in such order, a summary suspension of the business permit may be ordered, effective on the date specified in such order or upon service of the order by one of the means set forth in Subsection C, whichever shall be later.
B. 
An order of summary suspension may be served prior to, simultaneously with, or after the commencement of a proceeding seeking the suspension or revocation of a license.
C. 
An order of summary suspension shall be served upon the holder(s) of a business permit by personally serving the business permit holder(s), or by personally serving the business permit holder's manager if one is listed on the business permit application, or by mailing the order by first-class mail via confirmation to both the business address and the home address listed on the business permit application of the business permit holder(s).
D. 
The order of summary suspension shall contain:
(1) 
A detailed description of the charges against the business permit holder(s);
(2) 
An explanation of the finding that the continued operation of the business endangers the public health, safety, or welfare necessitating immediate closure;
(3) 
Identification of the evidence supporting those charges;
(4) 
Notice that the business permit holder(s) may:
(a) 
Answer the charges in writing and supplement the record; and
(b) 
Demand an expedited suspension or revocation hearing in writing; and
(5) 
Notice that a summary suspension shall be deemed to be final if a request for a hearing is not received within 20 days of the issuance of the order of summary suspension.
E. 
Any summary suspension imposed under this section shall remain in effect, unless reversed by the Commissioner, until a final decision is rendered after a timely requested hearing.
F. 
Any person who continues to operate the business while under an order of summary suspension shall be deemed to be guilty of operating a business without the required business permit in violation of § 90-33 and subject to the enforcement provisions set forth in § 90-36E and § 90-70 of this chapter. The disobedience shall also be an additional charge added to the suspension or revocation hearing notice and shall be a basis for suspension or revocation of the business permit.
G. 
If a written answer and demand for an expedited revocation hearing are served by the permit holder(s) on the Commissioner in a timely manner, the Commissioner shall schedule a hearing before a Hearing Officer within 15 days of receipt of the demand, unless the business permit holder(s) requests a later date.
H. 
The Commissioner shall render a final decision within 10 days of receipt of the Hearing Officer's finding of facts and recommendations, along with the record of the proceeding.

§ 90-44 through § 90-49. (Reserved)