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Croteaux Vineyards, ZBA reach settlement to allow tasting room to open

After being forced to close in 2018, the Croteaux Vineyards tasting room is now open again.

At a special meeting last Thursday, the Southold Town Zoning Board of Appeals approved a resolution to settle an Article 78 petition filed in 2018 by the former owner of Croteaux Vineyards.

The lawsuit challenged a ZBA ruling that the Croteaux tasting room is not located on a parcel where “at least 10 acres are devoted to a vineyard or other agricultural purposes,” under town code.

The tasting room is on a 4.65-acre parcel on South Harbor Road and is located across the street from a 9.37-acre parcel of planted vines.

Since challenging the decision in court, Michael Croteau sold the business earlier this year to New Jersey financier Randy Frankel and Kristen and Daniel Pennessi, who own The Menhaden hotel in Greenport.

Under the terms of the stipulation, dated Aug. 2, the variance will be granted so long as the business adheres to several operating conditions.

The stipulation specifies that within 60 days, they must apply for site plan approval from the Southold Town Planning Board and file covenants and restrictions that prohibit special events with 75 or more guests, prohibit visitors from arriving via buses and stretch limousines and limit capacity to no more than 150 guests at any given time.

Regulations limiting their hours of operation to noon to 6:30 p.m. were also included, with other requirements for directional and parking signage and a vegetated buffer along the property line.

They must also follow town code by not allowing food trucks on the property, according to the settlement.

In a previous interview with Northforker magazine, Mr. Frankel said he intends to keep the character and identity at Croteaux, which produces exclusively rosé wine.

“Croteaux has always had a great atmosphere and we’re happy to be keeping it alive,” he said. “There wasn’t anything to change, so we just want to keep it as a place where everyone can visit and have a great experience.”

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