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Milton official: High court ruling on Myrddin Winery will have statewide effect

Published: Wed, July 20, 2011 @ 12:07 a.m.

By Peter H. Milliken


Lake Milton

Milton Township trustee chairman and the lawyer representing the township in its unsuccessful effort to stop a winery from operating in a residential neighborhood said the Ohio Supreme Court decision concerning the winery will have statewide repercussions.

“It’s going to open up the doors, not just in Milton Township, but everywhere in the State of Ohio for people to have a business like that in a residential area,” said Dave Tomaino, trustee chairman.

Atty. Mark S. Finamore of Warren, who represents the township, said all of the 50 to 60 Ohio townships he represents are interested in the decision “because it affects everything in terms of how you interpret agriculture.”

The state’s top court ruled last week that the Myrddin Winery, 3020 Scenic Drive, is exempt from township zoning regulations and may remain in its current location.

A township has no zoning authority over the use of buildings for wine-making and selling on property, such as Myrddin’s, that is also used for grape-growing, the top court ruled.

The court made its ruling in the case of Jenifer Terry, Milton Township zoning inspector, v. Gayle K. Sperry, Myrddin Winery operator.

Terry had sought to stop the winery from operating in its present location because of neighbors’ complaints about the traffic and retail activity in a residential area.

“We all had our day in court. The court made the decision, and we’re going to follow the decision,” Tomaino said just before Tuesday’s trustee meeting. “They’ll be treated like any other business we have in the township.”

Nobody commented on the court decision during the public-comment session at Tuesday’s meeting.

However, Finamore said he expects a large crowd at today’s 5 p.m. meeting of Bazetta Township trustees because of opposition to the proposed move of the Cortland Winery from its current location to a residentially-zoned area of that township.

However, Finamore said there’s nothing that township can do to stop that winery from moving to the residential area as long as it cultivates grapes there.

Concerning Myrddin, Finamore said the township still has some available remedies if it needs them, but he advocated taking a wait-and-see attitude.

If parking becomes a problem, the township still has the authority to ban parking on the narrow, dead-end streets near the winery and to require Sperry to increase the winery’s limited off-street parking capacity, Finamore said.

The township also could enact a noise regulation ordinance, especially if live entertainment is presented, Finamore said.

If circumstances warrant, property owners or the township also could file civil-nuisance complaints, and township trustees could object to the renewal of the winery’s liquor license, Finamore added.

Even with no cars parked on the streets, a firetruck would occupy nearly the entire street width in the vicinity of Myrddin, said Police Chief Michael Saltsman.

Trustee Harold Campbell recalled that two tour buses bringing customers from the Akron area to Myrddin had an awkward time backing into the streets near it.

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