STATE OF NEW YORK SUPREME COURT OBSESSION BAR AND GRILL, INC. AND JOAN ORTIZ, -against- THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS OF THE CITY OF ROCHESTER, AND THE CITY OF ROCHESTER, Respondents-Defendants.

When you visit your local bar tonight besure to tell them they can stay open under the hours that New York State Law allows.

The Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals does not have the authority to supercede ABC Law.


Accordingly, it is the Decision of the Court that the October 22, 2012 decision of the ZBA,
limiting Obsession's weekday closing hours to 12:00 a.m., being in derogation ofthe ABC Law, is null and void.

Freedom being preserved and not stomped on by Rochester government!!!

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Comment by Mary D'Alessandro on February 18, 2013 at 8:26pm
What I am saying is that the City of Rochester according to the State of New York, does not have the right to limit the hours of operation. The hours of operation are determined by the liquor liciense that is given by the state of New York.

The City of Rochester stomps peoples freedom everyday. Every year I go to put wreaths on soldiers graves at Arlington Cemetary. These soldiers died for our rights. Rights that lately are slowly fading away. Did you know you had to apply for a permit to get dish TV? I think any rights that are perserved should be celebrated. I know nothing of the particulars of this ruling. Business owners need to be responsible and so do patrons. It is my opinion that there are times neighborhoods put so many restrictions on businesses and builders that they go elsewhere. Take the East Avenue Wegmans the residents were rediculous. Wegmans is to Rochester what Disney is to Orlando. Wegmans does not need Rochester, Rochester needs Wegmans. If I were Wegman, I would have said enough, leveled the store and left. People dont realize, it not their money that they are spending, why should they decide how it is to be spent. Maybe that is why businesses are leaving Rochester. Many businesses move to suburbs or out of town.
Comment by Mark Sweetland on February 18, 2013 at 9:48am

Obsessions is at 564 Chili, near the corner of Thurston on the west side of Chili.  See photo in "SW Merchants."  It is in a fairly commercial area.  There are apartments above which they own.  They did go through one variance hearing already, apparently without opposition.  Joan told me they need the income from the additional hours. 

Comment by John Boutet on February 17, 2013 at 11:40pm

So let me see if I get this straight Mary...  When many of us discussed at length with Anthony on this site how "Frank N Steins" would operate and then with that understanding went to the zoning board to support a liquor license with certain restrictions for the proposed business, were we being complicit in stomping someones freedom?   Is this ruling something the neighborhood should celebrate because it take away its right to put restrictions on how businesses in their area are operated?

Comment by Margy Meath on February 17, 2013 at 9:36pm

It would be useful to know the exact timeline of this.

  • did Obsessions ask for a variance PRIOR to opening and accept the City's conditions?
  • Was a liquor license granted as part of their opening or something they applied for after?
  • At some later point - after opening - did Obsessions take this to court because they wanted to extend their hours?
  • is Obsessions located next to residential property where homeowners are likely to object to late night noise?

I know nothing about this business or the story behind the court battles but DO know that there are bars/clubs in this neighborhood who are significantly detracting from our overall quality of life. I also know we have had businesses open stating they would NOT sell alcohol only later to have it be something they do sell - Julius Cafe - formerly on Thurston - opened with great fanfare (and probably some tax payer dollars) while promoting healthy food, an alcohol free environment,  a safe space for kids, a cafe setting, etc - they were serving alcohol within a year or so of opening and were closed completely within 2 or so years of opening.

Comment by Mary D'Alessandro on February 17, 2013 at 6:07pm
A state Supreme Court decision Friday struck down city zoning and neighborhood ordinances that limit hours business can operate.

In a statement, Mayor Thomas Richards said the city would obtain an automatic stay of the ruling and appeal. He said it was a quality-of-life issue for neighbors.

Obsession Bar and Grill sought a special use permit for a bar and restaurant at 564-568 Chili Ave., where current zoning limited operating hours to between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. The city granted a variance but limited weekday hours to midnight, allowing weekend hours to extend until 2 a.m.

The business sued. The court decided that state liquor law takes precedence, and that the city code is “null and void insofar as it attempts to regulate alcohol sales and consumption.”



I presume this means that the City still thinks (as they did with the curfew) that they can continue to enforce a void law while an appeal is pending. This time, if the City prosecutes anyone under this law, we need to make sure that those prosecuted sue for malicious prosecution in each and every case. The City needs to learn that this is not what a “stay” accomplishes.
Comment by Mark Sweetland on February 17, 2013 at 10:14am

Congratulations Joan and Ric!  See the review of Obsessions with link at top right column, "SW Merchants."  Click on the "Restaurants and Take-Outs" tab.  Really good food!

SW Merchants

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