View Full Version : Need input on zoning laws

05-24-2009, 06:52 PM
With all the pre-production research we've done, we were surprised to get slapped with zoning law complications.

The building we're planning to rent this year in NY is (otherwise) perfect for an indoor haunt.

Our meeting with local fire officials (who were more than satisfied with our safety plans) lead us to the zoning board, with whom we still have to meet.

What we're wondering is how, if anyone does, "beat" the "change of venue" status of putting a haunt in a vacant store.

Maximum safe capacity, number of toilets, and other requirements were mentioned, (all necessary if we are a "change of venue")...with the guarantee the zoning committee will have us address them.

Apparently, a supermarket, say, doesn't have the same status as a walk-thru haunt. Laws are different (and tougher) for what we do, as I'm sure most of you already well know. I'm thinking they said we'd qualify as a "gathering place"(!?) (Even tho I can't see our customers staying HALF as long as they do in a supermarket).

"Haunted Houses" were not even LISTED in the NYS Fire Safety Manual. I'm anxious to see if they are in the Zoning Board's bible.

Forwarned is fore-armed. Can anyone tell me what to expect, and, more appropriately what to SAY when we try to get our "permission slip"?

Thanks in advance,


05-24-2009, 08:08 PM
I would talk to your cities' Planning Department and find out what they have to say. Be completely honest with them and ask them what's in store going in front of the Board.

Just my 2 cents...

Greg Chrise
05-24-2009, 11:53 PM
The over all concept is occupancy. You won't have 8,000 people inside the building like a rock concert with pyrotechnics or a sporting event. You will only have a staff, some actors and a limited occupancy inside at any given time as prescribed by the fire marshal, traditionally groups of 5 or 6 paced out.

You are implying you would only have to evacuate a hundred people in a few minutes rather than thousands that will never make it out. As a result the existing facilities are far less than even the original design of a store with so many bathrooms, so much burden on parking etc.

In short, how much is this going to cost the city to service things you have not provided for or what liability do they face if they allow it? Very little if any burden is your presentation.

In fact your electrical cost classification could lower and things like that if it was properly classified, which they won't hear of as it changes/lowers the tax appraisal the city gets from the property but, another thing that illustrates the property exceeded the requirements in comparison to how you manage your event.