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Planning board: No event building for Owera without state approval

— This belief in the legally untouchable nature of Owera Vineyards, as held by its owners Peter and Nancy Muserlian, as well as their refusal to accept or follow town zoning laws or change their operating practices in response to a litany of neighbors’ complaints about excessive noise and lighting, has led this issue to go on for the past six months. It also has resulted in the issuance of a town zoning violation to Owera by the town codes enforcement officer.

Background

The noise levels at Owera from its weekend events have been an issue with the neighbors since the winery opened in June and with the town since the town board addressed the neighbors’ complaints at its regular August meeting. Under the site plan for the winery approved by the town planning board, all outdoor events at Owera are required to either end or be held inside a building after 10 p.m. specifically to address the issue of noise bothering its neighbors. Owera has been allowing its weddings and special events to go until 11 p.m., and, according to neighbors, sometimes until 1 a.m., in its non-permanent events tent, which has vinyl flaps that can be rolled up and down. The winery maintains that the tent is a structure and therefore their weddings inside the tent can go as long as they want.

In September, Town Codes Enforcement Officer Roger Cook issued a town zoning law violation to the winery for its excessive noise levels after 10 p.m. The citation did not stop Owera from holding its late-night events.

At the Sept. 8 town board meeting, Muserlian announced his plans to build a permanent event building in an effort to reduce the noise being heard beyond the winery’s grounds. 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 its formal application for the project.

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