Page 7 - Grapevine May-June 2018
P. 7

In The Winery

               example, in Placer County, California, a winery is   days and times that the events may be held, the
               required to have one parking space for every 2.5     number of people allowed to attend, the portion of
               attendees of a promotional event.                    the property that may be used for the events, etc.
                                                                    Sometimes a landlord will require advance notice
                 In Maryland, for any promotional event after       and/or the right to approve or disapprove a pro-
               6 p.m., a winery must file a notice with the         posed event.  The default clauses in many commer-
               Comptroller’s office at least 14 days in advance;    cial leases are harsh and wineries would do well to
               only 12 such events per year are permitted.  Within  avoid even the appearance of violating the terms to
               Maryland, Montgomery County is more restrictive:     avoid sometimes draconian remedies.
               only 9 days of events per calendar year in an agri-
               cultural zone or two special events in a residential     Even for those who own their properties, there
               zone.  Additional events require conditional use     may be easements or restrictive covenants that are
               approval by a hearing examiner.                      attached to the land and restrict certain activities.
                                                                    For example, if the winery shares a privately owned
                 Even within a jurisdiction, different rules may    access road with other properties, there may be
               apply to different properties.  When a winery first   limitations on the number of vehicles allowed on
               applies for permission to operate at a specific loca-  the road.  In order to preserve the quiet character
               tion, it is not uncommon for the local zoning board   of a rural area, a restrictive covenant may prohib-
               to negotiate certain restrictions on the property,   it the use of amplified music outdoors.  Owners
               including the number of events, the maximum          should check their deeds for any limitations that
               number of people at an event, what type of enter-    may be in place.
               tainment and/or food may be present, etc.
                                                                                   Noise Ordinances
                 These zoning laws must be taken seriously.  Royal
               Oaks Vineyard & Winery in Lebanon, Pennsylvania        Noise ordinances may be another source of legal
               opened for business in June 2017 and soon began      trouble.  Local rules may govern the number of
               holding events such as open mic nights, paint and    people allowed to attend an event, whether music
               sip nights, and terrarium parties.  Two months       is permitted, whether that music may be amplified,
               later, the North Cornwall Township issued a cease    the maximum decibel level, and during what hours
               and desist order, contending that the accessory      the event may be held.
               building on the property was only approved to be
               used for the display and sale of wine.  The order      Guy Fieri, one of The Food Network’s most
               forbid the winery from having indoor and out-        famous celebrity chefs, bought a five acre vineyard
               door recorded music, live music, open mic nights,    in Sonoma County, California in 2012.  But, when
               terrarium parties, paint and wine nights, private    he applied to open a 10,000 case winery and tap-
               dinner events, or a variety of other activities.  Bill   room, he met with some unexpected resistance.
               Hartmann, the owner of the winery, says he is not    Even though the application specifically indicated
               even allowed to play a radio inside the building     that no amplified music would be involved, the
               under the order.  He is appealing the decision, but   neighborhood was concerned about possible noise,
               it is a lengthy process and in the meantime, the     traffic, and the spectacle surrounding the 14 events
               Township’s restrictions are hurting his business.    per year Fieri planned for the space.  More than
               “Most people think we’re closed,” he said.           150 residents attended his zoning hearing to pro-
                                                                    test his application.  In the end, the planning com-
                      Limitations in Leases and Deeds               mission voted 5-0 to deny his permit.

                 For wineries that do not own their properties,                   License Restrictions
               another source of restrictions on events may be
               their lease.  Common terms include the number          Finally, the type of license held by the winery may
               of events that may be held on the property, the      dictate the kind of events it may hold.  For exam-

               877-892-5332                       The Grapevine • May - June 2018                                Page 5

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