Beacon Citizen Network (BCN): a place for neighbors to get the word out, be heard and stay informed in all matters concerning Beacon, NY.



Pinball is illegal in Beacon. Arcade my close. See CNN report.

Thanks to James Watkins for bringing this to our attention on another post.

Is the City of Beacon just going to let this guy go out of business? That's crazy. Does the major or somebody have the authority to not enforce the law until it is rewritten? Let the Mayor and City Council know you are all for legalized pinball playing!

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Comment by Steve Gold on August 9, 2010 at 12:31am
Okay, my last post for the night...
Henry, in Beacon the culture is to not aggressively pursue minor violations unless someone complains or it is a matter of health/safety. Gross violations are acted upon righ away when they are recognized. So if you have a complaint and want some action, contact city hall. If you see drug dealing taking place, call the police. The police in Beacon know more, do more, and are restricted by more regulations than most of us realize. Main Street is better this year then it was five years ago. I expect it will continue to improve if we are involved and backup our complaints with suggestions and helpful actions.
Comment by Steve Gold on August 9, 2010 at 12:01am
I understand the frustration people are all feeling about the retro-arcade business but take a step back and think for one minute. The CNN story was bogus and misguided. It totally hyped the emotional side of the story and left out the real reasons for the closure and challenges in re-writing the law.

The issue is noise and only noise. The business next to the arcade and the residents above it had a legitimate complaint about NOISE. The owner changed his business model from one that was legal to one that was not permitted. A complaint was filed with the building department. Should the City of Beacon ignore the complaints from its businesses and residents and allow an illegal operation to continue? Which laws do you suggest we enforce and which shall we ignore? There are always two sides to a story and two groups ready to complain.

I am a huge supporter of the retro-arcade business. I think it is great for Beacon’s Main Street economy. I helped the owner to try to keep the business open but in the end when complaints are filed the law must be enforced. Meanwhile, according to the arcade owner, the landlord of the building took several actions and intended to deny a renewal of the lease – claiming that other tenants were disturbed by the noise.

Knowing his business was at stake I tried to act quickly. My next step was to change the ordinance to allow a vintage arcade to operate without causing problems to adjacent businesses. I made phone calls to help him to relocate. I had the city planner rewrite the ordinance to allow the council to give it special permission to operate (a special use permit). The council worked to find a way to allow any vintage arcade business to operate without opening the door to other problems identified by other municipalities in their laws, and to protect the adjacent businesses and apartments from noise impacts. We also had to protect the arcade business owner from being closed down again a second time due to frivolous or malicious complaints. We rejected ides such as making the room sound proof and ended up leaving it to the business owner to reduce the noise in any way he wanted. Enforcement would be objectified by a decibel meter reading taken at adjacent unites.

I am sure if you lived above a business that had constant pinging sounds you would want the city council to protect your quality of life. I am also sure if you owned a business you would want the municipality to write laws that would protect your right to stay in business (like the arcade owner). Well to get all of this right, it sometimes takes time.

We all hope we can resolve this quickly so this very fascinating and beneficial business can open again.

Steve Gold, mayor
Comment by Steve Gold on August 8, 2010 at 11:58pm
BTW….the laws about loitering are that the only time the police can break up “loiterers” is if they are blocking the sidewalk from pedestrians walking or if they are doing something illegal. In America, you have the right to stand on a street without being harassed by police as long as you don’t harass someone else.

Here’s another fact. If someone is loitering on private property, or drinking for that matter, the police cannot do anything about it unless the property owner files a complaint.

Comment by Henry on August 8, 2010 at 3:43pm

Loitering, noise ordinance, littering laws never enforced. Drugs are readily available on Main St. Windows of merchants and homeowners are smashed with rocks on a regular basis. Yet we're enforcing this law?

How about the 70/30 law? 70% of a storefront's window must be uncovered by signs, shades etc. I can't think of an easier law to enforce.

Please leave this guy alone. He runs a great business.

Steve...please comment.
Comment by Andy Brown on August 8, 2010 at 11:52am
"Police discretion" does give officers the ability to enforce certain laws and not others. This is probably why they choose to ignore the loitering laws. While a nuisance to most residents, the police probably feel that loitering is a minor offense and not worth pursuing. It would follow that the city and police have the discretion to overlook this law as long as there is no reason to believe that any other illegal activity is going on.
Comment by James Watkins on August 8, 2010 at 9:25am
I thought that the Mayor and George Mansfield and the City of Beacon did not come across well at all, and looked silly and backwoods -- but that could be because how the story was presented. The owner of the shop comes right out and says that Beacon is anti-business, and while the city fiddles, his shop may go down in flames. The mayor and Mansfield never say why this law was being enforced, rather than put on hold until the council acts. And really, saying that the council is spending months on trying to write the right law about whether it is okay to have pinball machines just makes Beacon look lamer than it really is.
Comment by Dan Rigney on August 8, 2010 at 6:52am
Good to see Gearge and Steve on the right side of this issue. I'm sure this law stems from the uglier time in Beacon's history-a time not all that long ago. It sounds like the City is trying to do the right thing. Rewriting the law is never easy. I love Fred's place and hope a solution is found soon.
Comment by john fasulo on August 8, 2010 at 5:17am
an added thought.... if we're dusting off old archaic laws, lets find some more of them to keep Beacon in the news. If we can find just 10 laws that we can purposely break, we can keep Beacon in the headlines for months..
As for pinball, for a lot of us, it's a game of some skill with a nostalgic component for most of us who grew up in the 60s..we even had preferences in the type of pinball machines.. I liked the Gottlieb machines the most. Then, like an assassin in the night, pong appeared, then Pac Man... we left behind pinball in favor of the new generation of games. Then those games also became history.. The point here is that it's up to parents to regeulate their kids activities. The archade in Beacon is an asset that puts into context the history of electronic games. I see a constitutional issue here...will I see another story before returning home about a legal challenge with a possible run all the way to the Supreme Court?
Comment by john fasulo on August 8, 2010 at 3:11am
Way to go Beacon... It's obvious that if CNN has the story its been seen here in Brussels and all over the rest of the modern as well as not so modern world.... Great CNN piece. Bravo Beacon! But wait, there is a positive side to this story... let me think back to my days at Hill & Knowlton PR... ah yes.. "It doesn't matter what you say about someone (or place)... Just spell the name right".... B..E..A..C..o..N.. Beacon Ny zip 12508.

Lets see... what other archaic law can we dust off to get our name in the news?????
John Fasulo
Comment by Eric Wilkerson on August 8, 2010 at 2:25am
Interesting how CNN was clear to point out that 60 miles north of the big city is where old fashion laws from the mid 20th century are still the rule. It's a great little place. I told the owner if he ever got the old return of the jedi arcade game I would never leave that place.

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