[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Mount Vernon 10-10-1979 as Ch. 55 of the General Ordinances, approved 10-11-1979. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This ordinance provided that it would take effect 1-1-1980. It also provided that copies of the ordinance should be distributed to all social clubs within the City, but that the validity of the ordinance would not depend on the receipt of such copies.
The purpose of this chapter is the regulation and licensing of social clubs to prevent the sale of alcoholic beverages on premises not duly licensed by the State Liquor Authority; to ensure that the occupants of such clubs are not exposed to fire and health hazards; to protect business premises duly licensed to sell alcoholic beverages from unfair competition by unlicensed clubs or organizations; to exert some reasonable control and surveillance of social clubs to discourage the clandestine sale and use of illicit drugs and other criminal activity, all pursuant to Article 2-A of the General City Law of the State of New York and Article III of the City of Mount Vernon Charter.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A room, place or space used by members of a social club and their guests for club purposes.
- PRIOR CONSENT FOR INSPECTION
- The consent of the applicant for a social club license permitting access, without prior notice, for the reasonable inspection of the clubroom by the Building Department and Health, Fire and Police Department personnel of the City of Mount Vernon or County of Westchester as delineated hereinafter such § 224-18, Periodic inspections.
- SOCIAL CLUB
- A person or any association of people, whether incorporated as a membership corporation or not-for-profit corporation or unincorporated, which owns, occupies or leases premises for use by club members and their guests exclusively, for recreational, patriotic, social, benevolent or athletic purposes.
- SOCIAL CLUB LICENSE
- The permit issued by the City Clerk authorizing for a definite license period of one year the use of a particular clubroom as the meeting place for social club members and their guests.
Social clubs shall be located only in a B-1 Office District, B-2 Neighborhood Business District, on the second or upper floor of premises in a B-3 General Business District or on the second or upper floor of premises in a B-4 Commercial District, and shall be at least 200 feet from any residential district. No social club shall be located within 200 feet of a building occupied exclusively as a school, church, synagogue or other place of worship, the measurement to be taken in a straight line from the center of the nearest entrance of such school, church, synagogue or other place of worship to the center of the nearest entrance of the premises in question; nor within a circumference of 200 feet of any public housing project, to be measured from the property line of the public housing project which is closest to the nearest property line of the premises in question.
No social club shall operate between the hours of 4:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon on Sunday nor from 4:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. on all other days.
[Amended 4-10-1981, approved 4-13-1981]
The applicant for a social club license, upon payment of a fee of $250 to the City Clerk, shall furnish the following data on an application form to be furnished by the City Clerk:
Name of social club and clubroom address of the social club.
Names and addresses of its officers.
The purposes or goals of the social club.
Copy of certificate of incorporation, if incorporated.
Prior consent to reasonable inspections during license period.
Name and address of landlord.
[Added 4-13-1989, approved 4-13-1989]
Every applicant for a license shall file, together with the application, fingerprints of both hands. The fingerprints shall be placed upon cards provided by the Commissioner of Public Safety and shall be taken under his/her supervision by a senior police officer, and at such a place as the Commissioner shall designate. The Commissioner of Public Safety shall have the authority to submit the fingerprints of the applicant, together with the required fees, to the Division of Criminal Justice Services or other appropriate agency for processing and investigation. No application for a social club shall be approved nor any license issued under the provisions of this chapter until after the commanding officer of the Bureau of Criminal Identification in the Department of Public Safety has reviewed and examined the criminal history record information disseminated by the Division of Criminal Justice Services. No license shall be granted to any applicant who has been convicted of any felony or any misdemeanor involving violence, dishonesty or deceit.
Upon the acceptance of the application, the City Clerk shall advise the Mount Vernon Fire and Building Departments and Westchester County Department of Health to make a team inspection of the clubroom of the applicant to ascertain and report whether such clubroom is free of Fire, Building and Health Code violations. Such prior inspection and report shall be made within two weeks of the filing of the application.
Should the inspections required by § 224-6 reveal existing violations of the Health, Fire or Building Department regulations, the City Clerk shall deny the application and forward in writing to the applicant the reason for the denial within 48 hours of such denial.
Within one week of the receipt by the applicant of the denial in writing of the City Clerk, the applicant may elect to demand a hearing. The demand shall be in writing, addressed to the City Clerk, stating clearly the reason why the denial should be set aside. Within one week of such challenge and demand for a hearing, the City Clerk shall forward the hearing demand to the Social Club Appeal Board, which Board shall schedule a hearing within two weeks of the receipt of the notice from the City Clerk.
The Mayor shall appoint a Social Club Appeal Board upon the enactment of this chapter. The Board shall consist of the Police Commissioner and two laymen, one of whom possess experience of at least 10 years in the building and construction field, who shall act as hearing officers. The Board members shall select one of their members to act as Chairman. Upon the scheduled hearing date, the testimony will be given first by the department or departments citing the violation and thereafter by the applicant. The burden of supporting the denial shall be upon the City of Mount Vernon, which must sustain its denial by a preponderance of the evidence. To sustain a denial, 2/3 of the Board must vote in the affirmative to it. If there be no such affirmative vote to sustain the denial, the denial shall be withdrawn, and forthwith the City Clerk shall issue a social club license to the applicant, with leave to the City to take any further permissible legal action to reestablish the denial.
[Amended 4-10-1981, approved 4-13-1981]
In the event that the denial of the license is sustained by the Social Club Appeal Board, the decision shall be forwarded to the applicant in writing.
The license, if not denied, shall be issued to the applicant within one week of the departmental inspections, for a period of one year from the date of its issuance.
The social club license shall be conspicuously displayed and be visible from the street side of a clubroom having a glass window or door; otherwise, it shall be conspicuously displayed in the interior of the premises within six feet of the entrance to the clubroom.
[Amended 4-10-1981, approved 4-13-1981]
Application for renewal of a license shall be submitted to the City Clerk 30 days prior to the expiration thereof. The procedure for renewal shall be identical to the procedure for the application for the license as set forth in this chapter.
No license issued hereunder shall be revoked or suspended without notice in writing by the City department making the complaint to the applicant, stating clearly the facts upon which the suspension or revocation is being made. Upon receipt of the revocation or suspension notice, an aggrieved licensee shall, within one week of the receipt of the notice of revocation, state in writing its objection to the revocation or suspension and demand a hearing. Within one week of the receipt of the challenge or objection of the aggrieved licensee, the Social Club Appeal Board shall schedule a hearing as stated in § 224-8 of this chapter, and, in the sustaining of a denial, must affirm any revocation or suspension by an affirmative vote of 2/3 of its members.
A license hereunder shall be suspended or revoked if the clubroom premises are used in violation of this chapter or if the social club or its officers, members or employees are convicted of a crime while on the club premises or in the use of the club premises under any state or federal criminal law.
The following are exempt from the application of this chapter:
[Amended 4-12-2006, approved 4-13-2006]
Every licensee shall keep in force a liability insurance policy to cover accidental injuries sustained therein by its members or guests. The minimum limits shall be $1,000,000 for each occurrence and $2,000,000 for aggregate claims.
Access to the clubroom shall be given to inspectors of the City Fire, Building and Police Departments and the Health Department of the County of Westchester for the periodic routine inspection of the social club rooms.
Such inspections shall not single out any particular club but must routinely be made of at least three other clubs on the same day or night. No single inspection shall last more than one hour's duration. Routine inspections of three other clubs on the same day or night are not required when inspections are made in response to specific complaints.
[Added 3-12-1980, approved 3-13-1980]
Any person or association of people operating a social club as defined under this chapter without first securing a social club license shall be guilty of a violation of this chapter punishable by a fine of not more than $150 or to imprisonment not exceeding 150 days, or both, pursuant to § 1-4 of the Code of the City Mount Vernon.