To the editor:
There comes a time when you need to take a stand against an oppressor. And the time is now.
The town of Cazenovia and its planning board can no longer be intimidated by Owera Vineyards and its owner.
Just four months after its opening it has become crystal clear that Owera Vineyards and Peter Muserlian have no respect for the neighbors or our community. They have no interest in preserving the heritage and nature of “Cazenovia Living,” but more importantly they have conned and steamrolled their way to creating a public nuisance, an event venue right here in our peaceful community.
A little over two years ago, Owera Vineyards received a $994,000 grant and eight years of tax credits in order to establish a vineyard. The cover for this project was the Agriculture and Markets Law (AML) §301(11) which governs the operation of vineyards. Unfortunately, the actual intentions of the owners were to establish a banquet hall to be rented out for wedding receptions, trade shows and festivals.
There can be little discussion that the property is not a vineyard. They have a measly four acres of vine stock, which by no means can sustain multiple parties each week, and the law is very clear on the vineyards ability to use its facilities for parties.
The law states: “In cases where the farm distillery, brewery or winery is charging admission, facility rental and/or vendor fees for such activities, the per event sales of the farm’s distilled or brewed products and/or wine and wine-related food products as a result of such activities must exceed the fees charged for such activities, less the actual cost to offer the activity/hold the event, so that the primary purpose of the activities is to sell the farm’s distilled or brewed products and/or wine and wine-related food products and not to gain admission fees or rental income. Farm distilleries, breweries and wineries must keep sufficient records to prove that this requirement is met.”