Town denies Sherwood House request for outdoor tasting area

The Southold Town Planning Board denied Sherwood House Vineyards’ request for an outdoor wine-tasting area on Monday night, and the town plans to take vineyard owners to court seeking an injunction to prevent them from operating a wine-tasting shed on preserved land.

Sherwood House owners Charles and Barbara Smithen sold the development rights on a portion of their Oregon Road, Mattituck, property to Southold Town more than a decade ago, but have since been conducting retail sales in the shed, despite the town’s insistence that they stop.

Their application to the Planning Board was an attempt to address those concerns by constructing a patio on a section of the property for which development rights have not been sold, where the Smithens planned to host seasonal outdoor wine tastings. But the Planning Board put its review of that application on hold earlier this summer and asked the Smithens to clear up their outstanding code violations before proceeding with the review.

The winery continued to run the tastings on the preserved land throughout the summer.

Town Attorney Martin Finnegan said Tuesday that the Planning Board “gave them time, but that time has since run out.” The town has hired outside counsel to fight the Smithens, and Mr. Finnegan said the matter will be adressed in court later this week.

The Planning Board denied the application in a 4-0 vote, with chairman Martin Sidor abstaining. Mr. Sidor is a neighbor of Sherwood House.

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