To the editor:
On behalf of many unified neighbors, we would like to commend both the New York State Liquor Authority and the Cazenovia Town Planning Board on recent decisions and requests made in response to Owera Vineyards’ most recent applications and requests to expand their wedding banquet business.
Citing the 12 events that were on file for the summer of 2013, NYSLA Commissioner Green called this “the calendar from hell,” claiming this was “way too many events.” While neighbors gathered to view the hearing online, cheers erupted when SLA Chair Rosen said he would “deny the application based on the community opposition.” He stated that this needed to be worked out before any new application could be reviewed. Interesting that the vineyard’s own attorney noted that there were 32 weddings already booked for the summer. If 12 is way too many for Commissioner Green, 32 is going to really be difficult for her board to accept.
In addition, the town planning board decided to rethink the banter related to decibels, hours and number of events when the neighbors, once again, challenged the basis for allowing a commercial building and commercial business to be operating on a parcel of land deemed rural/agricultural. This town is protected by zoning laws. We are more attractive than so many because a lot of effort has gone into protecting both the beauty of the surroundings and the types of establishments and businesses that can set up shop in existing neighborhoods.
We move forward with confidence that local and state agencies will continue to see the reality of what has been happening while they weren't looking. They will see that a $1 million grant and an annual $1.1 million tax exemption have been granted to a business claiming to be agricultural in nature. We know financial margins in agribusinesses are slim; Deb knows that from her own family's farm. But to be given such financial benefits while focusing on nothing but a lucrative wedding catering business is an insult to all.
Be a vineyard. Fulfill the promises made on each state application. Until then, there will be more battles waged by and won by the neighbors seeking to protect their homes.
KEN AND DEB SHEPHARD MOYNIHAN