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Planning Board Hears Proposals for Oregon Road Wine Tasting Facilities

Lieb Celars proposing to convert an existing building on Mattituck road and Sherwood House Vineyards ro make an outdoor facility.

Representatives of two wineries made their cases before the Southold Town Planning Board on Tuesday night to back two new wine-tasting area proposals on Oregon Road in Mattituck.

One, proposed by , would convert an agricultural storage building over 5,500 square feet in size to a tasting room and dry storage area. Another, an outdoor tasting area, would consist of two patios and was put forth by , which currently operates a similar facility just south of Oregon Road.

Should the two proposals go through, the two wineries would join as the only wineries with locations on the road, which stretches roughly three miles from east-to-west through Mattituck and Cutchogue, north of Sound Avenue. Part of the road was considered a "key view" area to Southold's scenic landscape according to a 2001 Corridor Management Plan.

Bill Kelly, representing Lieb, said the applicant has virtually no intent to hold outdoor special events at the proposed site ("Mark Lieb's daughter's wedding? Maybe something like that.") and said the tasting facility came about as a result of what's already there, not an attempt to build out anything new.

"The building was there long before the idea of a tasting room was there," he said. "What we're proposing would be the end of it. There's really no more room to do anything else."

Planning Department Director Heather Lanza expressed concern that the bar/tasting room, which measures roughly 1,200 of the 5,500 square-foot building, might be expanded in the future. Kelly said it would not.

In addition to converting the use of the building, Lieb is also proposing a patio on the north side of the barn measuring approximately 1,500 square feet. The parcel sits near the corner of Cox Road and Oregon Road.

Planning Board member William Cremers said Lieb is still required to obtain County Health Department approval in addition to Planning Board approval before plans can proceed.

Almost two miles west of Lieb, Sherwood House Vineyards is in the process of trying to move across Oregon Road from its facility on Elijah's Lane – an operation – to the home of co-owners Charles and Barbara Smithen.

The Smithens' attorney, Patricia Moore, called parking requirements the planning department is asking for, "highly irrational and unreasonable."

Moore said the calculations used by the department in asking for 35 parking spaces for a proposal with no buildings are unfair. Instead of basing parking requirements on the collective 866 square feet of patio proposed, the department measured the lawn area, measuring over 7,000 square feet.

"Parking requirements should be based on the entire area that patrons will likely occupy," reads the department's report. 

Moore proposed 18 parking spaces to the board, which will review the plans.

One member of the public spoke out against the proposals during each meeting, citing the rural character of Oregon Road.

"This could get out of hand if we open up the door to this," said Ken Euring, who lives on Wavecrest Road in Mattituck. "Let them put it on the Main Road, not on Oregon."

Degg July 13, 2011 at 11:59 AM
One of our last truly rural roads will go commercial if approval is given to proceed with these tasting rooms. I know that the wine business is good for the North Fork financially, but the girl in hot pants and high heels getting out of the tasting party limo to vomit in the King Kullen parking lot last week end and the loud outdoor music we endure EVERY weekend is too much.

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