Calls and emails to the SLA seeking clarification on which designation was the final one were not returned.
Cazenovia Town Codes Enforcement Officer Roger Cook, however, said Owera is not currently approved or zoned to do business as a restaurant.
“I would probably deny them or cite them for operating such. I don’t think that is something that is appropriate under our zoning and we would look to stop that unless somebody higher up tells us we can’t,” Cook said. “Our question is, why is a winery looking to sell alcohol, and is alcohol something [the state Department of] Ag[riculture] and Markets looks at as part of their ag process? I tend to think not.”
Town Planning Board Chair Michael Palmer, whose board is currently reviewing Owera’s latest site plan review to build a new event building to replace the current event tent on its property, also expressed concern over Owera’s possible future business plans.
“We’re trying to collect as much information as we can from all parties,” Palmer said. “The type of license they want will help us determine their intentions.”
He said if Owera wants a liquor license to better serve their guests at a catered function that is one thing, but if they are looking to create a full bar or restaurant, “that’s a different thing. That’s not necessarily a deal-breaker, but it shows their intentions for the future.”
In addition to speaking to members of the SLA legal department about exactly what type of liquor license Owera is seeking, Palmer said he also sent a letter to the SLA commissioners informing them that Owera currently is going through a site plan review process regarding the proposed new event building, that the neighbors are opposing the winery’s current ability to hold events and that the municipality is working to address the issues.