City of Binghamton, New York

City Cracks Down On Two After-Hours Nightclubs

5/16/2017

(BINGHAMTON, N.Y.) — Mayor Richard C. David today announced a series of legal actions against two after-hours nightclubs operating illegally.

“The City will not tolerate after hours clubs in the City of Binghamton,” said Mayor David. “Operators can shut down business now, which is what the Orton Ave. location did under threat of lockdown, or they will face tough legal consequences. The City will use every resource we have including, police, zoning, code enforcement, fire marshal and attorneys to shutter these illegal businesses. We’re not seeking incidental improvements — we’re looking to shut these clubs down.”

Victoria’s — 153 Susquehanna St.

The City has issued a lockdown warning letter and notice for multiple zoning violations to the owner of 153 Susquehanna St., the site of an after-hours club called “Victoria’s.”

The lockdown letter details serious public safety violations at the property, including an October 2016 homicide, as well as general disturbances, disorderly conduct and an assault. In addition, police have been called to the property 26 times in the past 18 months.

On May 14, 2017 at approximately 2:22 a.m., Binghamton Police conducted a compliance check at 153 Susquehanna St.. Upon being granted entry, officers observed a strong odor of marijuana and multiple burnt marijuana cigarettes. The owner of Victoria’s, Gloria Crowder, 52, of Binghamton, was present during the compliance check. Crowder was not cooperative with officers and attempted to block inspection of alcohol containers in the bar. Crowder was arrested for criminal nuisance 2nd, Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) violation 64b-1, harassment 2nd and resisting arrest.

On May 7, 2017 at approximately 3:45 a.m., Binghamton Police conducted a compliance check at 153 Susquehanna St. Upon being granted entry, officers observed multiple people drinking at a bar and identified a strong odor of marijuana. Conditions were documented and provided to Corporation Counsel.

The property does not have a current New York State liquor license or City planning approvals for operation as a nightclub. In 2002, the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals approved operation of a restaurant at the property. The current use of 153 Susquehanna St. is illegal for the following reasons:

·         The business is not operating as a restaurant.

·         The original conditions of approval prohibited the serving of alcohol on premises.

·         The approved hours of operation, 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m., are not being followed.

The Balcony — 124 Broad Ave.

The City has issued a zoning citation to the owner of 124 Broad Ave., the site of an after-hours club called “The Balcony.”

On May 6, 2017 at approximately 2 a.m., Binghamton Police officers observed multiple people entering 124 Broad Ave. and heard loud music coming from the building. When officers were allowed inside, they observed approximately 50 people, a DJ, two females behind the bar, two cash registers and a tip jar. Officers also observed patrons with alcoholic beverages, multiple open alcoholic beverages on the bar top and a refrigerator filled with beer bottles and cans. Conditions were documented and provided to Corporation Counsel.

The property does not have a current New York State liquor license or City planning approvals for operation as a nightclub. It was also cited for illegal signage. The last approved use for 124 Broad Ave. was as a carry-out fish fry restaurant, which was granted in 2013.

Next steps

If the Susquehanna Street and Broad Avenue nightclubs fail to become compliant by their re-inspection dates, criminal summonses will be issued and the owners will be prosecuted.

The City’s lockdown law assigns properties point values for different types of nuisance activity. More serious crimes have higher point values. A building is deemed to be a public nuisance if it accumulates 12 or more points in a six-month period or 18 or more points in a 12-month period.

This week, the City’s Fire Marhsal will conduct fire safety inspections of 124 Broad Ave. and 153 Susquehanna St.

Crack downs continue

The actions are part of a broader initiative by the City to crack down on after-hours nightclubs that skirt the law and often become hubs of illegal activity.

On May 3, the City sent a lockdown warning to the owner of an after-hours nightclub on Orton Ave. where an April 22 homicide occurred. The nightclub’s operator agreed to shut down the club one day later. The property — listed as 221 Main St. in property tax records — was also cited for violating City zoning ordinances, operating as a place of large group assembly and installing signage without required site plan approvals.

After the closing of the Orton Ave. nightclub, Victoria’s and The Balcony are the two remaining after-hours nightclubs known to Binghamton Police officials.

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