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Owera Vineyards, town at odds over loud weddings

Neighbors complain that new winery is ignoring original limits set on it by town planning board

Noise complaints

While issues have been raised about bright lights and excessive traffic from the vineyard, it’s the events — particularly the weddings — that Owera hosts every Friday and Saturday night that has its neighbors upset.

“It isn’t a vineyard; it’s a party place,” said John Hunter, who lives across the street from the entrance to Owera. “It’s a pretend vineyard. It’s not what the planning board approved.”

Hunter said every weekend the wedding music goes until at least 11 p.m. and is so loud every word sung or spoken into the microphone can be clearly heard and every bass-line of every song shakes and vibrates the windows of his house. Hunter also claims the lights leading down the driveway to Owera are excessively bright — like an airport runway.

Neighbor Berta Keeler, who also lives across the street from Owera, also finds the bright lights “very obnoxious,” and thinks the weekend noise is not only excessively loud but part of the winery’s philosophy of an apathy towards its neighbors’ concerns.

“They’re not a winery, they’re an event center. The vineyard is just a cover,” Keeler said. “I’m very disappointed in that. It could be not a bad thing, but they don’t care about their neighbors — its just business.”

John Clement, who lives next door to the winery at 5210 East Lake Road, has also been complaining about the noise from the winery since they opened. In fact, he raised concerns about the potential for excessive noise from Owera events during town planning board hearings in 2010 and 2011, but, he says, his concerns fell on deaf ears.

“Now, ever since they opened on June 14, there’s been nothing but noise, music, laughter, voices. It’s so loud you cannot sit outside, you can’t go to bed early on Friday or Saturday nights — it goes until 11 p.m.,” Clement said. “It’s a big change thinking you’re getting a vineyard as a neighbor and you get an event center.”

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