In Festa v. New York City Dept. of Consumer Affairs, a New York County Supreme Court Judge was asked to consider whether "social dancing" comprised a form of constitutionally protected expression and whether New York City's restrictions on the licensing and location of social-dance establishments somehow violated that protection.
As we reported back in April of 2006, New York County Supreme Court Justice Michael Stallman could discern no constitutional impropriety and dismissed the dancers' case.
Last week, the Appellate Division, First Department, released its decision on the dancers' appeal, and agreed that dismissal was appropriate. As the AD succinctly noted:
Recreational dancing is not a form of expression protected by the federal or state constitutions .... Accordingly, the Cabaret Law and attendant zoning regulations challenged by plaintiffs, are subject to rational basis review .... The legislative purposes in enacting these provisions were plainly legitimate, i.e., to protect the health, safety and general welfare of the public by limiting, inter alia, noise, congestion and various hazards in residential areas, and to protect the local retail development. It is manifest that the regulations, to the extent challenged by plaintiffs, bear the requisite rational relation to these permissible governmental objectives.
Will the dancers be sashaying to the state's highest court?
For a copy of the Appellate Division's decision in Festa v. New York City Dept. of Consumer Affairs, please use the following link: http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2007/2007_01476.htm
To be directed to our prior post on this case, please use the following link: http://www.nyrealestatelawblog.com/2006/04/who_loves_a_cabaret.html#000036