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Planning Board grants conditional site plan approval for Cutchogue winery

The Southold Town Planning Board approved a conditional site plan Monday for the Sannino Winery and Tasting Room proposed for Alvahs Lane in Cutchogue.

Approval for the two-story building — with a 2,852-square-foot first-floor wine production, sales and wine education room — was granted on eight conditions, including maximum occupancy of 235 people, a maximum of 39 vehicles on site and a limit on bus and limousine access. No more than two buses or five limousines will be allowed on site at a time.

Additionally, no drop-offs will be permitted on site for buses and limousines, except for ride-sharing services, transit, taxis or private cars.

At a previous meeting, board members had suggested maximum occupancy of 150, based on the number of cars permitted to park there, but ultimately agreed to the applicant’s request.

The winery will also agree to host no more than 12 special events per year, although the board previously suggested only four. The applicant’s attorney, Gail Wickham, disagreed with that special events limit at the board’s work session, because special events fall under the auspice of  Zoning Board of Appeals.

“It’s not a limit that’s imposed on other wineries, other businesses or other properties,” she said. When attorney Eric Bressler questioned an “overlay when the jurisdiction for special events” already lies with the ZBA and Town Board, the town’s assistant planning director said public testimony on the application pointed to noise, proximity to residences and quality of life issues with neighbors.

Owner Anthony Sannino said he was willing to agree to a limit of 12 events, though he said it puts his winery at a “competitive disadvantage.” A majority of board members agreed to the condition.

Planning Board chairman Donald Wilcenski said the board gets referrals from the ZBA for comments on special events.

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