Appellate court upholds ruling in favor of The Station

Ruling upholds 2013 dismissal of citations against Roseville business
By: Sena Christian, Staff Reporter
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A longstanding feud between The Station Bistro & Lounge and the city of Roseville may have come to an end with a new ruling by an appellate court that upholds the dismissal of citations lodged against the business and chastises the city for its disorganized records.

“It’s outstanding from our perspective — an overwhelming victory,” said The Station owner Len Travis, of the ruling, which was filed April 16.

In March 2013, the Superior Court of California for Placer County dismissed all 19 citations and $8,800 in fines against the business at 1100 Orlando Avenue that had been issued between May 2, 2011 and June 11, 2011.

The business was cited for allegedly violating the city’s dance permit and operating as a nightclub. The court also ruled in 2013 that The Station is not required to have a dance permit, as it is not a nightclub. The city appealed that decision.

“We are still reviewing the opinion,” said city of Roseville spokesman Brian Jacobson on Monday. “This review will likely take a few days. It is a complex issue, and the opinion from the court is complex as well. Through this entire situation, we have been responding to numerous citizen complaints and trying in good faith to enforce city ordinances.”

The city was unable to provide an estimate of the expenses involved in the back-and-forth legal proceedings with The Station as of press time.

In the ruling from the appellate division of the California Superior Court, the city was criticized in part for its “contradictory” application and definition of the nonconforming use status, and the court stated it considered the city’s appeal “on the basis of the limited and disjointed record presented.”

In early 2008, the business in question operated as The Station and Ultra Lounge, which included a restaurant and nightclub, according to court documents. In April 2008, the city sent a cease-and-desist letter to the business stating it had found zoning violations and that The Station had lost its legal nonconforming use status. In the summer of 2008, the business closed.

In October 2008, The Station filed a writ of mandate against the city, which was denied by the Placer County Superior Court in a ruling issued March 25, 2011. The court found in favor of the city in its revocation of The Station’s   back in 2008.

The Station then brought a motion for reconsideration, which was heard and denied by the court in July 2011.

Also back in October 2008, a license was issued for the operation of a restaurant with evening entertainment called Train Station Supper Club, according to court documents. That same license remains in existence, but the business name has changed to The Station Bistro & Lounge.

From October 2008 to 2010, The Station operated as a restaurant, with dancing.

In 2010, the city revised its municipal code language to change the definition of “public dance” and “eating and drinking establishments,” which was intended to prevent restaurants from offering dancing and other nightclub activities unless the business first obtained a public dance permit and a conditional use permit.

These changes were only to apply to new restaurants or existing restaurants that did not already offer music and dancing.

After the March 2011 ruling, the city began issuing citations against The Station, which were then challenged by The Station — and subsequently dismissed in March 2013.

Travis said all he and his partners have been trying to do is provide residents and visitors with a “place to enjoy food, music and dancing,” and he accuses the city of targeting his business because it wasn’t located in Old Town — Roseville’s designated entertainment district.

“Our business was founded on (the) theme of ‘dine and dance’ evenings, and has been driven to the brink of insolvency by the city attorney’s aggressive prosecution of the dance permit ordinance,” Travis said.