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Owera neighbors, owners spar over noise and lights at town board meeting

Town reveals it has issued two codes violations to vineyard

— The owners of Owera Vineyards this week declared themselves heartsick over their neighbors’ complaints about bright lights and loud music from the winery and said they will resolve these issues for the 2014 season. Until then, they gave their word they would address the lighting issue with new fixtures and close the vinyl flaps on the event tent at 10 p.m. for the rest of the 2013 wedding season in order to reduce the noise level of the wedding music.

Their statement came during 90 minutes of discussion on the issue at the Sept. 8 town board meeting during which the winery’s East Lake Road neighbors unloaded a litany of complaints, accusations and demands for action to the board, and board members responded that they have been actively working on the problem for weeks. The town attorney also revealed at the meeting that the first major step has been taken in that Owera has been issued two town code violations for bright lights and loud music, and the town code enforcement officer said if there is another incident the winery will be issued a court summons.

Neighbors were unimpressed and avowedly “skeptical” at both the board’s statements and the winery owners’ promises, and made clear they will continue fighting for a more immediate and satisfactory resolution to what they declare as a loss of quality of life in their neighborhood.

“They have absolutely been the neighbor from hell” and have a “total disregard” for town rules and regulations, said neighbor Jorn Clement.

The dispute between the winery, its neighbors and the town of Cazenovia concerning loud music late into the night and excessively bright lights coming from the winery has been ongoing since the winery opened in June. Under the site plan for the winery approved by the town planning board, all external 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.

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