In a 2-1 decision, the 7th District Court of Appeals has upheld a trial judge’s order that a Lake Milton winery must cease operating in a lakefront residential neighborhood.
Appeals court Judges Gene Donofrio and Cheryl L. Waite ruled that Judge John M. Durkin, of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, was correct in issuing a permanent injunction barring the Myrrdin Winery from operating at 3020 Scenic Drive in Milton Township.
Based on neighbors’ complaints about the winery’s traffic and retail activity in a residential area, Jenifer Terry, township zoning inspector, asked Judge Durkin to stop the winery from operating at that location.
Noting that 95 percent of the wine the winery sold was made from grapes grown elsewhere, Judge Durkin rejected the winery’s claim to being an agricultural enterprise that is exempt from township zoning regulations.
Winery operator Gayle K. Sperry appealed Judge Durkin’s ruling.
Because its primary activities are the processing, bottling and selling of wine and not grape cultivation, Myrrdin couldn’t legally be classified as an agricultural enterprise, Judges Donofrio and Waite ruled.
Appeals Judge Mary DeGenaro dissented, saying the township has no authority to regulate the winery because it “falls squarely into the zoning exception.” She added: “The winery is incident to the agricultural use of the land.”