[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Trenton 9-7-1967 as § 5-8 of the Revised General Ordinances. Amendments noted where applicable.]
No person either as principal or agent, clerk employee, either for himself/herself or any other person, or for any corporation or other association shall maintain or operate any premises primarily devoted for the use of meetings, gatherings or group activities, whether for profit or otherwise, including, but not limited to, social clubs or athletic clubs, whether formally organized or otherwise, within the City without first having obtained a license from the City Clerk and without complying with the provisions contained in this chapter. This chapter shall not be construed to require additional licenses for premises for which an alcoholic beverage license has been issued, unless the meeting, gathering or activity is conducted in a portion of the premises not included within the existing license, nor shall it apply to tax-exempt educational, governmental, charitable or church premises or public buildings.
Applicants for meeting hall licenses or renewals thereof shall submit an application form to be provided by the City Clerk. Applications shall include the full name and current address of the owner of the premises and local managing agent thereof, and of the proposed licensee. In the case of a partnership or corporate owner or licensee, the application shall include the name of each shareholder or partner holding 10% or more of the outstanding stock, and in the case of organized clubs, whether incorporated or otherwise, the principal officers and a brief description of the nature of purposes of the organization.
The City Clerk shall transmit copies of all applications for meeting hall licenses to the Police Director, the Fire Chief and the Building Inspector, who shall investigate the licensed premises in accordance with their respective jurisdictions and report back, in writing to the City Clerk, their findings of fact and recommendations.
In the event of a denial, the Clerk shall state her reasons in writing, addressed to the applicant, which reasons shall be limited to those specified in Chapter 146, Licensing, § 146-9E.
Any person who shall be aggrieved by the decision of the City Clerk, either in the granting or denial of a license, shall be entitled to appeal to the City Council within 30 days of the receipt of the decision by filing a written request for review by City Council with the City Clerk within the thirty-day period.
Each license shall be effective for a term of one calendar year, expiring midnight, December 31 of each year and shall be subject to renewal upon approval of a renewal application which shall be submitted, together with the license fee, to the City Clerk between November 1 and December 1 of each year and which shall be approved or rejected on or before December 31. Applications for new licenses may be applied for at any time during any calendar year and shall be approved or rejected within 30 days of submission in proper form.
The annual nonrefundable license fee of $25 shall be paid to the City Clerk at the time of the initial issuance of the license and submitted annually thereafter, together with the renewal application form.
Licenses shall be at all times displayed conspicuously upon the premises.
All applicants for initial licenses under the terms of this chapter shall also, at least five days prior to the submission of the license application, give notice to all owners and occupants of property within 200 feet of the property involved in the application. Such notice may be given by personal service or by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, provided that notice shall not be deemed necessary or required in the case of any application for license or premises presently in use as meeting halls prior to the adoption of this chapter. The notice, in a form to be provided by the City Clerk, shall advise the recipient to file any objections to the granting of the license in writing to the City Clerk within 10 days.
No license shall be issued for the operation of a meeting hall, dance hall, or rental hall which is located within 1,000 feet of any school, church, or public building or within 1,000 feet of another premises licensed under this chapter or premises licensed as dance halls, rental halls or pool or billiard parlors, or license for the sale of alcoholic beverages, retail or plenary consumption or distribution under this Code. This provision shall not apply to meeting halls, dance halls, or rental halls, existing as such on or before October 5, 1978.
Upon application to the City Clerk, which application shall be upon forms provided by the City Clerk, and upon notice to owners and occupants of property within 200 feet of the proposed location, an authorized representative of a social organization actually in existence and functioning on a regular basis prior to October 5, 1978, in its present location or in another location may apply to the City Council for a variance from the foregoing distance requirements, which application shall be granted upon a showing that:
A variance is needed due to failure, through inadvertence or excusable neglect, of the owner or organization to obtain and maintain an initial license as required by this chapter; or
A need for relocation has occurred as a result of a hardship and that relocation to a site within the restricted distances set forth herein would not jeopardize the public health, safety and welfare. The City Council will make its determinations following a public hearing to be convened on not less than 10 days' notice to all persons concerned.
The applicant, at the time of initial application, shall submit a complete floor plan of the premises indicating entrances, exits, fire exits and measurements of those portions of the premises to be included in the license or under the control of the licensee.
Any premises which shall be declared to be unsafe by the written report of the Building Inspector, or a fire hazard by the written report of the Fire Chief, shall be deemed to be ineligible for a license and shall not be operated until such violations are abated. The licensed premises shall be subject to inspection by appropriate City officials in the same manner as the other licensed premises or buildings within the City to enforce the provisions of this chapter and the provisions of all appropriate health and safety codes.
The premises shall be evaluated by the Fire Department which shall prescribe occupancy limitations which shall be inscribed upon the license. It shall be a condition of the issuance of the license that the licensee shall not allow the occupancy limitations to be exceeded at any time. No licensee, agent, employee or invitee shall obstruct, in any way, the inspectors from performing their duties.
The owner of any premises within the City, which is primarily and regularly devoted to the uses described in § 158-1 shall procure and maintain a valid license pursuant to the procedures prescribed herein. In addition to the owner's responsibility, it shall be the responsibility of any person having dominion or control of the premises in the absence of the owner to comply with the licensing and other provisions of this chapter.
At the time of application for each license or renewal, and periodically thereafter, whenever necessary to provide an accurate record, the licensee shall designate by full name and current address the adult person who shall bear the full responsibility for the maintenance and management of the licensed premises at all times. Whenever the licensed premises is in use for any gathering or activity, it shall be the further obligation of the licensee to have available on the premises an adult person who shall be the representative of the licensee and who shall be responsible to correct or abate any and all violations of this chapter or any breach of the peace in cooperation with the officers and agents of the City. In the event of any violation of this chapter, the owner and/or other person having tenancy, dominion or control over such premises at the time of the occurrence of the violation shall be subject to the penalties prescribed herein.
No person, owner, tenant or occupant shall conduct any licensed premises in such a way as to create a nuisance to the detriment of the peace and tranquility of the neighborhood by allowing, permitting or suffering on or about the premises, including any sidewalk area, and other portions of the licensed premises immediately adjacent to, and a part of, the property for which the license has been issued, any loud, disorderly or unlawful behavior of any invitee or patron or other person whether or not specifically invited to occupy or visit the premises licensed. It shall be the responsibility of the person described in § 158-1 hereof to take reasonable action to maintain the peace and tranquility of the neighborhood in which the licensed premises is situated by actively abating and removing any such conduct. Any and all complaints of noise or nuisance of any sort registered by any person with the City Clerk shall be processed for license disciplinary hearings, subjecting the licensee to suspension or revocation of the license pursuant to the procedures set forth in Chapter 146, Licensing.
In addition to its application to meeting halls, the operational restrictions, application disclosure requirements, penalties and disciplinary procedures provided in this chapter shall be applicable to the conduct of any dance hall or rental hall separately licensed hereunder.
This chapter shall not be construed to supersede or supplement any other licensing provisions provided for by Chapter 146, Licensing, Article III, and, in particular, a license granted hereunder for the operation of a meeting hall shall not constitute a license for the operation of a rental hall or dance hall and shall not constitute a license for the sale or dispensing of any alcoholic beverage.