Appeals court rejects ban on raves at armory in Albany

Friday, April 4, 2014
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— A state appeals court threw out the Albany Board of Zoning Appeals’ 2013 ban on raves at the Washington Avenue Armory, saying the definition of “auditorium” used to support the prohibition was too narrow.

According to a ruling from the Supreme Court Appellate Division Third Judicial Department issued Thursday, the BZA was incorrect in asserting that the armory had to have fixed seating for events such as the techno parties/concerts in order to qualify as an auditorium and thus be permissible.

“[W]e conclude that the BZA’s determination that the proposed use was impermissible — based solely on its limited interpretation of auditorium as requiring fixed seating, to the exclusion of other commonly accepted definitions — was irrational and unreasonable and must be annulled,” the court wrote.

In a note attached to the opinion, the court noted that under the BZA’s strict definition of the term auditorium, events such as trade shows, conventions, flea markets and other general-assembly events could be disallowed, even though there has never been a question raised or determination issued about those events.

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