Town of Amherst, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Amherst as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Bingo — See Ch. 77.
Dance halls and dances — See Ch. 96.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 110.
Zoning — See Ch. 203.
[Adopted 8-2-1934; amended in its entirety 3-6-2017 by L.L. No. 5-2017]
For the purpose of providing for the regulation and licensing of the theatric, dramatic and operatic entertainment, shows, amusements, field games and public exhibitions of every kind intended to amuse, instruct or entertain, where such entertainments, shows, amusements, games and exhibitions are given for gain or for admission to which a fee is charged, such entertainments, shows, amusements, games and exhibitions are divided into nine classes, as follows:
A. 
First Class. All entertainments of theatrical, dramatic or operatic character, all lectures, reading or recitation, exhibitions of paintings or statuary or other exhibitions of art, all musical entertainments, consisting of vocal and instrumental music, or either, shall belong to and be known as entertainments of the First Class.
B. 
Second Class. All circuses, menageries or combined circuses and menageries, all caravans, sideshows, concerts, minstrel or musical entertainments given under a covering or canvas or within any structure or enclosure intended for temporary use and capable of easy travel and removal, all swings and itinerary shows such as a lifting machine, blowing and striking machines, all other exhibitions and devices, all merry-go-rounds, revolving wheels or other machines or apparatus carrying passengers, slides and all similar amusements, given, operated or performed in any given place or places in the Town, shall belong to and be known as entertainments of the Second Class.
C. 
Third Class. All poultry shows, stock shows, flower shows, dog shows, cat shows and all other shows or exhibitions of like character, all automobile shows or exhibitions of automobiles, locomobiles and horseless carriages or like nature shall belong to and be known as entertainments of the Third Class.
D. 
Fourth Class. Exhibitions of fireworks shall belong to and be known as entertainments of the Fourth Class.
E. 
Fifth Class. All rinks or places where roller skating or ice skating is conducted or carried on as an amusement or where instruction is given in roller skating or ice skating shall belong to and be known as entertainments of the Fifth Class.
F. 
Sixth Class. When several amusement enterprises, such as shooting-the-chutes, revolving wheels, merry-go-rounds, shooting galleries, giant swings, panoramas, musical and theatrical entertainments and various other devices or entertainments are carried on or conducted in any garden, park or other enclosure, whether carried on or conducted as one enterprise or by several concessionaires and whether one admission fee is charged for all such entertainment or a separate fee is charged, such entertainments, enterprises and various entertainments offered and conducted shall be considered one enterprise and shall belong to and be known as entertainments of the Sixth Class.
G. 
Seventh Class. All exhibitions of moving pictures known as "mutoscope," "kinetoscope," "cinematograph" or other like articles of moving-picture devices and all so-called penny arcades or similar entertainments, all museums of anatomy and exhibitions of monsters and freaks of nature shall belong to and be known as entertainments of the Seventh Class.
H. 
Eighth Class. All so-called public pool, billiard and bowling places, alleys and rooms shall belong to and be known as entertainments of the Eighth Class.
I. 
Ninth Class. All baseball, basketball and football games and other devices not included in any of the foregoing classes shall belong to and be known as entertainments of the Ninth Class.
A. 
Entertainments within the Town of Amherst, County of Erie, State of New York hereinbefore referred to shall be given only after the issuance by the Town Clerk, with the approval of the Board of the Town of Amherst, of a license therefor upon payment of the following license fees applicable to the respective classes mentioned:
Class of Amusement
License Fee
(as fixed by the Town Board)
First
$5 to $50 per day, or fraction thereof
Second
$25 to $100 per day, or fraction thereof
Third
$1 to $100 per day, or fraction thereof
Fourth
$1 to $50 per day, or fraction thereof
Fifth
$10 to $50 per month, or fraction thereof
Sixth
$50 to $150 per annum, or fraction thereof
Seventh
$10 to $50 per month, or fraction thereof
Eighth
$5 to $100 per annum, or fraction thereof
Determined in each case by the Town
Ninth
Board in its discretion
B. 
Where any entertainment, show, exhibition, performance, amusement or enterprise embraces two or more of the classes above numerated, such entertainment, show, exhibition, performance or other amusement shall be classified and charged for as belonging wholly to that class for which the highest fee may be charged.
No entertainment, exhibition or performance mentioned or included in any of the nine classes specified and defined in this chapter shall be conducted, produced or presented for gain or profit other than from a duly licensed theater, opera house, hall, enclosure or place without first procuring from the Town Clerk a license for that purpose, except that no license fee shall be charged for amateur athletic games.
Every license issued under the provisions of this chapter shall at all times, for the term for which it is issued, be posted in a conspicuous place at or near the principal entrance of the premises described in such license so that same may be easily seen and read by any person passing in and out of such premises.
Every license granted under the provisions of this chapter and all privileges pertaining thereto shall at all times be subject to the ordinances of the Town of Amherst in effect when such license shall be issued or which shall be thereafter adopted so far as same shall be applicable thereto.
All licenses for entertainments where a license is required shall contain a provision that no gaming, lottery or chance, gift, distribution of money or articles of chance shall be connected therewith or allowed by the persons operating such place, or in any wise permitted or held out as an inducement to visitors; such license shall also state the number of persons such licensed theater, hall, building or place has accommodation for, and no more than that number shall be allowed to occupy such theater, hall, building or place at any one time.
Before any license shall be issued to any person, firm, association or corporation to give, operate or conduct in any building, hall or enclosure or on or in any other place any amusement or entertainment of the classes heretofore enumerated, the Town Board may require the applicant for such license to present to the Town Board the written consent, signed by the owners owning 51% of the property, determined on a front-footage basis, according to the last assessor's roll of the Town, located within 1,000 feet of the lot or lots whereon the building or buildings wherein said entertainments or amusements are to be conducted.
All licenses herein provided for shall be procured from the Town Clerk and issued in the discretion of the Town Board, and any such licenses may be revoked by said Town Board upon complaint after first holding a hearing. All licenses issued under this chapter shall expire on the 31st day of December next succeeding issuance. Each applicant shall, prior to the issuance of any license under this chapter, file with the Town Clerk a signed written application therefor, giving such information as required by the Town Board.
No carousel or merry-go-round or similar device shall be operated with music accompaniment from 9:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.; no skating rink, machine having sound-producing medium or shooting gallery shall be operated at any time unless the noise therefrom shall be so muffled that same shall not be carried a distance of more than 500 feet away. Loudspeakers, announcing devices, horns or other noise-producing devices shall be operated at all times in such a manner so as not to disturb the occupants of the premises in the vicinity of the device and shall be so toned down, muffled or subdued so that the sound therefrom shall not carry more than 500 feet outside of the buildings or grounds on which the device is operated.
It shall be unlawful to operate a loudspeaker, announcing device or horn for the purpose of advertising merchandise for sale or attracting patrons to a store or place of business by causing or permitting the sound therefrom to be transmitted outside of said store or place of business into the public streets of the Town.
All carousels, shows, exhibitions, entertainments, pool and billiard rooms licensed pursuant to this article, except bowling alleys, shall be closed during the period from 12:00 midnight until 9:00 a.m.
The provisions of this article shall not apply to or include picnics, bazaars, fairs and kindred amusements wherein the profit ensuing therefrom shall be for the benefit of charity, a religious, social or benevolent society or for public benefit, churches, organizations of churches, organized fire departments or United States veterans of any and all former wars, including auxiliaries of such organizations.
Every violation by any person, firm, association or corporation of any of the provisions of this article shall be deemed to be an offense against this article, and upon conviction therefor, such person, firm, association or corporation shall be subject to a fine of not more than $50. Every day or part thereof that such violation shall continue shall be deemed to be a separate and distinct violation of the provisions of this article.
The declaration of any portion of this article by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid shall not invalidate the entire article, but only that part thereof so declared to be invalid, and the remainder of said article shall remain in full force and effect.
[Adopted 8-17-1981 by L.L. No. 2-1981; amended in its entirety 3-6-2017 by L.L. No. 5-2017]
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AMUSEMENT GAME
Any mechanical, electric or electronic device used or designed to be operated for entertainment or as a game by the insertion of a piece of money, coin, token or other article or by paying money to have it activated. This definition does not include:
A. 
A jukebox.
B. 
Rides.
C. 
Bowling alleys.
D. 
Any device maintained within a residence for the use of the occupants thereof and their guests.
E. 
Any device the possession or use of which is prohibited by law.
GAME ROOM
A building or place containing four or more amusement games.
OWNER
A record owner, contract purchaser, lessee, assignee, bailee, receiver or trustee.
PERSON
One or more individuals, a corporation, partnership, association, trust or firm and any trustee, receiver or assignee.
TOWN
The Town of Amherst outside of the Village of Williamsville.
No person shall maintain or operate a game room in the Town unless it is licensed under this article.
A. 
An application for a game room license shall be made to the Town Clerk on forms and containing information prescribed by him.
B. 
Upon receipt of an application for a game room license, the Town Clerk shall refer it to:
(1) 
The Commissioner of Building, to determine whether the premises comply with all applicable laws, ordinances, rules and regulations. For that purpose, the Commissioner and employees of his department shall have the right to enter upon and inspect the premises during normal business hours.
(2) 
The Chief of Police, to cause an investigation to be made of the background of the owner and the operator of the game room.
C. 
Licenses for game rooms may be issued for premises classified as either "Shopping Center" or "General Business" under Chapter 203, Zoning.
D. 
Except as provided in New York Correction Law Article 23-A, no game room license shall be issued to or held by any person who has been convicted of a crime or by any corporation, partnership or association, a member, officer, director or holder of 10% or more of the stock of which has been convicted of any crime.
A. 
After review of the application has been completed, the Town Clerk shall forward it, with his report and recommendations of the Commissioner of Building and Chief of Police, if any, to the Town Board for its review and approval.
B. 
In approving a license, the Town Board may establish conditions to promote and protect the health, safety and general welfare of the Town and its inhabitants.
C. 
After approval by the Town Board, the Town Clerk shall issue a game room license upon payment of the license fee established in § 68-21. The license shall state:
(1) 
The number of amusement games permitted in the game room.
(2) 
The maximum number of persons permitted in the game room at any time.
(3) 
Any other conditions or restrictions imposed by the Town Board.
(4) 
The class thereof according to the premises licensed.
D. 
Upon receipt by the applicant, the Town Clerk shall schedule a hearing for the first Town Board meeting for which five days' notice published in the official newspaper can be given if the Town Board denies the application or approves it with limits or conditions not satisfactory to the applicant.
A. 
The owner and operator of any game room shall comply with all provisions of law, ordinance, rule or regulation relating to the conduct of business and the use and maintenance of the premises.
B. 
The owner and operator of any game room shall cause the game room license to be posted at all times in a conspicuous place on the premises.
C. 
The owner and operator of any game room shall not permit a greater number of persons on the premises at any time than the capacity approved by the Town Board as set forth in the license.
D. 
The owner and operator of any game room, and the members, officers, directors and holders of 10% or more of the stock of any corporation, partnership or association owning or operating a game room shall be of good moral character.
E. 
The owner and operator of any game room shall maintain good order on the premises at all times. The lack of good order on the premises of a game room shall include but shall not be limited to the following:
(1) 
Fighting and rowdy behavior.
(2) 
Possession or consumption of any alcoholic beverages, except on premises licensed by the state for on-premises consumption.
(3) 
Gambling.
(4) 
Permitting the use of marijuana or any controlled substance possession of which is prohibited by the New York Penal Law.
F. 
The owner or operator of any game room shall not permit an amusement game therein to be played or operated after 10:00 p.m. by a person under the age of 16 unless accompanied by and under the supervision of a parent or other guardian over the age of 21.
G. 
The owner or operator of a game room shall not allow it to be open or used unless it is under the control of and supervision by a person at least 18 years of age who shall ensure that it is operated in compliance with this article.
H. 
The owner and operator of a game room containing more than 30 amusement games shall provide additional supervisory personnel, all of whom shall be at least 18 years of age, adequate to assure orderly operation of the game room at all times.
I. 
The owner and operator of a game room shall not allow it to be open or the amusement games therein played on any day between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m.
J. 
The owner and operator of a game room shall not allow more amusement games than the number permitted in the license to be located therein at any time.
A. 
The owner of any amusement game within the Town shall comply with all provisions of any law, ordinance, rule or regulation applicable thereto and relating to the conduct of the business in connection with which the game is used and the use and maintenance of the premises where it is located.
B. 
The owner of the game shall maintain good order on the premises at all times. The lack of good order on the premises shall include but not be limited to the following:
(1) 
Fighting and rowdy behavior.
(2) 
Possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages, except upon premises licensed for on-premises consumption thereof.
(3) 
Gambling.
(4) 
Permitting the use of marijuana or any controlled substance possession of which is prohibited by the New York Penal Law.
C. 
The owner of an amusement game shall not permit it to be played or operated after 10:00 p.m. by a person under the age of 16 unless accompanied by and under the supervision of a parent or other guardian over the age of 21.
D. 
The owner of an amusement game shall not allow it to be available for use or used unless it is under the control of and supervision by a person at least 18 years of age, who shall ensure that it is operated in compliance with this article.
E. 
No cash awards shall be offered or given in any contest, tournament, league or individual play on any amusement game, and no such game shall be permitted to operate if said game delivers or may readily be converted to deliver to the player any piece of money, coin, slug or token.
F. 
No credit, allowance, check, slug, token or anything of value shall be offered or given to any player of any amusement game as a result of plays made thereon.
A. 
An application for a game room license shall be accompanied by a nonrefundable fee of $100.
B. 
The annual fee for a game room license shall be $200, plus $40 for each machine over five. Such annual fee shall be pro-rated and paid as follows:
Payment of annual fee made on or after January 1st and prior to April 1st=100% of annual fee
Payment of annual fee made on or after April 1st and prior to July 1st=75% of annual fee
Payment of annual fee made on or after July 1st and prior to October 1st=50% of annual fee
Payment of annual fee made on or after October 1st and prior to January 1st=25% of annual fee
C. 
The fees fixed herein may be modified from time to time by resolution of the Town Board.
A. 
The premises of all game rooms in the Town, when open for the transaction of business, shall be subject to inspection by any peace officer, acting pursuant to his special duties, or police officer.
B. 
Any other premises in the Town containing amusement games, when open for the transaction of business, shall be subject to inspection by any peace officer, acting pursuant to his special duties, or police officer.
Game room licenses shall expire as set forth in § 68-8 of this Chapter. Applications for renewal of game room licenses shall be submitted at least 30 days before the expiration of the existing license.
The Town Board may revoke a game room license for cause after a public hearing.
A. 
Any person who violates any provision of this article shall be guilty of an offense punishable by a fine not exceeding $250 or imprisonment for 15 days, or both.
B. 
Each day that a violation exists, occurs or continues shall constitute a separate offense.
This article supersedes the provisions of the Amusement Ordinance[1] as to the regulation and licensing of game rooms and amusement games.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Art. I, Entertainments, Shows and Amusements, of this chapter.
If any clause, sentence, paragraph or part of this article or application thereof to any person or circumstances shall be adjudged by any court to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof or the application thereof to other persons and circumstances but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph or part thereof and the persons and circumstances directly involved in the controversy in which the judgment shall have been rendered.
This article shall take effect immediately.