Court dismisses citations against The Station

Rules Roseville business doesn’t need a dance permit
By: Sena Christian, Staff Reporter
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All 19 citations issued against a Roseville business for allegedly violating the city’s dance permit have been dismissed by the Superior Court of California in a ruling filed March 7.

The court also ruled that the business in question, The Station Bistro & Lounge on Orlando Avenue, is not required to have a dance permit, as it is not operating as a nightclub.

“We disagree with the court’s decision and will be filing an appeal,” city spokeswoman Megan MacPherson told the Press Tribune on Thursday.

The Station’s owner, Len Travis, learned of the court’s decision on March 20. His feud with city officials dates back to the summer of 2011.

“It’s wonderful,” Travis said. “It’s what we’ve been saying all along. We started as a restaurant offering music and dancing, and we’ve been fully compliant with the city … it’s been the planning department that has tried to stop our customers from dancing.”

By early 2010, the city’s planning department recognized ambiguities between what constituted a restaurant and what constituted a nightclub under the city’s zoning ordinance, and when a dance permit was required, according to the court’s decision.

The planning department recommended zoning changes that would prevent restaurants from offering dancing and other nightclub activities, unless the business first obtained a conditional use permit. A restaurant wouldn’t be allowed to get this conditional use permit unless it first obtained a public dance permit.

The proposed changes to the zoning ordinance were only to apply to new restaurants or existing restaurants that did not, at that time, offer nightclub activities.

According to the court’s decision, The Station operated as a full-service eating and drinking establishment offering food, alcoholic beverages, music and dancing from October 2008 to beyond the 2010 zoning amendments. In a June 3, 2010 letter, The Station was informed that the amendments would not apply to existing restaurants that were then recognized by the city as providing music and dancing.

The city says it revoked The Station’s legal nonconforming use status to operate as a nightclub in April 2008. The court’s ruling says the city didn’t provide enough evidence to support its claim that The Station was required to have a dance permit, or that it was operating as a nightclub.