Zoning Trouble For Gift Shop Found Selling Adult Materials

In the City of Troy, one man gave “stopping by the gift shop” an entirely new meaning. Plaintiff was granted a certificate of occupancy to start a “gift shop,” but what was actually constructed was quite different. While investigating complaints against the shop, a Code Inspector found an inventory consisting primarily of adult materials, complete with viewing booths. As these were constructed without a permit, not to mention the business constituted a zoning violation. A stop work order was issued, the premises were locked, and the “gift shop” was shut down.

Plaintiff later brought a constitutional challenge for damages and the reinstatement of his certificate of occupancy on the grounds the City Code didn’t designate a zone to sell adult materials. The Court ultimately rejected this on several grounds. First, in the absence of guidance in the Code, the Zoning Board has authority to grant use variances. In addition, failing to disclose the true nature of the business proposed was a violation of the City Code’s procedure, and his harm remains speculative while administrative remedies such as an Article 78 proceeding remain. For all of these reasons, the court ruled the challenge was not ripe for review. 

To top it all off, the Plaintiff failed to respond to three violation notices, thereby negating his due process claim against the City.

The case was Your Place, LLC v City of Troy, 2013 WL 6474899 (N.Y. App. Div. 3 Dept. 2014). It can be found here: http://decisions.courts.state.ny.us/ad3/Decisions/2014/518620.pdf

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