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Police Chief On Vineyard 48's Liquor License Revocation: 'We Will Prevail'

Residents have cried out for relief over noise, parking and other quality of life issues they said were sparked by Vineyard 48.

After months of public outcry over a Cutchogue winery that's sparked ire among residents complaining about noise, traffic, parking and "sex acts" in the vines, Vineyard 48 has had their liquor license revoked.

Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley confirmed Tuesday night that he had traveled to a State Liquor Authority hearing in Harlem and testified again, along with some neighbors.

"The chairman ordered their liquor license revoked," he said.

Flatley added, "It was a long trek going through the hearing process with the New York State Liquor Authority with Vineyard 48 beginning with our department's first referral near the end of 2011. I commend the affected neighbors of Vineyard 48 for their patience in weaving through the legal system with us and admire their perseverance in acting as a concerned, responsive network of neighbors addressing this business that threatened their quality of life in Southold Town. I realize that there is an appeal process to this finding, but we are confident we will prevail."

Pat Moore, attorney for Vineyard 48 owner Matthew Mets, did not immediately return a request for comment.

In July, Mets was grilled by the Southold planning board.

During the public portion of the July public hearing, residents poured out their collective angst, echoing the concerns they'd voiced at numerous previous meetings.

Joseph Zuhoski said security was lax at the vineyard. "They're going into the vineyards and doing their sex acts," he said.

One neighbor said limos and buses were still idling in her driveway and brought photos to prove it. She also said her son was being driven home from a baseball game recently when his vehicle was almost hit head-on by motorist who turned out of Vineyard 48 and headed the wrong way on Route 48.

"I don't sleep well or comfortably at night and, hopefully, you will make a decision to provide a safe community for us all," she told the planning board.

Bill Shipman asked why the board was even considering an amended site plan while the vineyard was still involved in litigation and under investigation by the State Liquor Authority.

"If this is approved without those cases being closed, it's criminal," he said.
 "Why isn’t anyone helping us here? Government is not protecting the people."

Jill Ann Johnson, a resident who lives on Horseshoe Drive, said she and others want to protect what's theirs. "Last year, a DJ was offering a free bottle of wine to anyone willing to bare their boobs. I shouldn't have to hear that from inside my kitchen."

Denise Lademann questioned what life would be like for her neighborhood if the amended site plan was approved, with 100 more parking spaces. "Even 300 people whispering can be a loud noise — and it's not going to be whispering if they're drinking pitchers of sangria."

Horseshoe Drive resident Beth Shipman agreed and questioned what would go on if occupancy of over 500 was allowed. "I'm not prepared to raise my children at the Boardy Barn," she said.

"It's Sodom and Gomorrah," said Zuhoski.

What do you think about the decision to revoke Vineyard 48's liquor license? 

barbara radich December 18, 2013 at 06:59 AM
Game over
Bob Dunn December 18, 2013 at 08:59 AM
Good work! to all involved, these neighbors have the right to peace in their community. I hope that the Wine and Agriculture industry are not taken back by this, they are important to the Town and should only prosper. But it should never happen at the expense of others in the community. Perhaps they should note the bad apples in their world that they not spoil other "crops", peer pressure does work.
Frank T December 18, 2013 at 09:24 AM
"sex acts in the vines" Sounds like a great title for a novel or play!

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