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Planning board requests review of Owera Vineyards’ adherence to town zoning laws

— The Cazenovia Town Planning Board has requested an official, written opinion from the town codes enforcement officer on whether Owera Vineyards is violating town zoning laws by holding so many events at its East Lake Road location. The action was taken after — and apparently in response to — public comments from the winery’s neighbors at the board’s Dec. 5 meeting charging that Owera was operating its numerous events in violation of town zoning laws and the planning board therefore should not approve the winery’s proposed events building.

The CEO’s report is due before Dec. 19, the day on which the board will hold a special meeting to continue its site plan review process of Owera’s building request.

“It’s a victory. It’s about the law,” said East Lake Road resident and Owera neighbor Deb Shephard Moynihan in response to the board’s action. Moynihan challenged the planning board to hold Owera accountable to town laws and to deny the winery’s request for a new events building.

Last week’s meeting was the third public meeting in three months concerning the planning board’s site plan review of Owera’s proposed new events building to replace the temporary events tent in which it held its numerous events this past summer.

Winery owner Peter Muserlian, along with his landscape architect, architect, sound engineering expert and Owera attorney appeared before the town planning board on Oct. 3 to provide the board with project information and to receive feedback before submitting their formal application for the project. In November, their proposal was for a building about one-third bigger than the current tent, with an additional wing to be used for corporate retreats, pharmaceutical dinners and similar events. The building would be constructed of state-of-the-art sound-proofing materials that would reduce the noise levels of music heard at the closest property line to 60 decibels.

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