SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
COUNTY OF ULSTER
In the Matter of the Application of
RIVENDELL WINERY, LLC and SUSAN L.
For a Judgment Pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil
Practice Law and Rules
LINDA DONOVAN, GAIL CHRISTMAN,
PATRICIA SCHWARTZ, JEFFREY CLOCK and REPLY AFFIDAVIT OF
ROBERT HUGHES, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS ROBERT RANSOM
MEMBERS OF THE ZONING BOARD OF
APPEALS OF THE TOWN OF NEW PALTZ , Index No. 08-275
THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS OF THE
TOWN OF NEW PALTZ and THOMAS
WIACEK, BUILDING INSPECTOR, TOWN OF
KEVIN C. HARP and JOSEPH E. O’CONNOR,
STATE OF NEW YORK )
COUNTY OF WESTCHESTER )
ROBERT RANSOM, being duly sworn, deposes and says:
1. I am a member of Petitioner Rivendell Winery LLC (“Petitioner Rivendell”). I am
fully familiar with the facts and circumstances of this litigation. I personally appeared at all
hearings held by the Respondent Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of New Paltz (hereinafter
“Respondent ZBA”) and have otherwise been in contact with various officials of the Town of New
Paltz over the past year in regard to the application by Petitioner Rivendell to establish a farm
winery in the Town of New Paltz on lands within the A1.5 Zoning District. I make the within
Reply Affidavit in response to the papers submitted to this Court by Respondent ZBA and
Respondent Thomas Wiacek, Building Inspector of the Town of New Paltz (hereinafter
“Respondent Wiacek”) and Intervenor-Respondents Kevin C. Harp and Joseph E. O’Connor
(hereinafter “Intervenor-Respondents”) and in further support of the Petition.
A. THE FARM WINERY AS A BUSINESS
2. The sale of wine and other products in a winery tasting room are fundamental and
foundational to the entire winery business. Like so many farms in different industries, without
direct sales, there would be no business. Petitioner Rivendell relies on its direct-to-consumer sales
for more than 99.2% of its sales. We have virtually no wholesale business.
3. The farm winery industry was founded on the concept of direct sales. Thirty years
ago there were no farm wineries. In those days to be a winery in New York State legally required
the sale of wine produced to be made through a series of distributors – what is commonly referred
to as the “three tiered system” (producer sells to distributor who sells to retailer who sells to
consumer). It was not legal for a wine producer to sell directly to the public. Also, a winery was
allowed to procure grapes from any source, not restricted to the use of New York State-grown
4. In the early 1970’s a large upstate winery moved its production to California,
effectively stranding several hundred grape growers for whom they were the largest customer. After
several years of watching their grapes literally die on the vine, a number of grape growers got
legislation enacted in New York State which allowed them to make wine and sell their wine directly
to consumers. The NYS Farm Winery Act of 1976 was the enabling legislation that has since been
emulated by virtually every State and is the basis for the Farm Winery or “boutique winery”
industry that we belong to. N.Y. Unconsolidated Laws § 71, et seq. In 1985, the New York State
legislation was broadened to allow additional privileges to Farm Wineries and to further define
allowable sources of raw materials. In that legislation it was clearly established that NYS Farm
Wineries were required to utilize 100% New York State grown grapes to produce their wines, but
were not required to grow the grapes themselves.
5. Without the ability to sell wine directly – through a tasting room or retail shop on the
premises, virtually no farm winery in New York State would be able to economically survive. This
is professionally reiterated throughout the record of the Respondent ZBA hearing, most notable in
the letter from Dean Charles Cramton of Cornell Law School who is considered the State’s
foremost expert on the Farm Winery Law. That letter states in part:
The farm winery is also authorized to sell its wine from the licensed
premises to a licensed wholesaler or retailer, or to a corporation
operating railroad cars or aircraft for consumption on such carriers, or
at retail for consumption off the premises. The license likewise
includes authorization to sell cider and wine at retail for
consumption on or off the premises. All of these rights are included
in the farm winery’s basic license to operate in New York State. To
the best of my knowledge, every farm winery in the state sells
wine to consumers out of its tasting room at its winery (emphasis
added). (R. 170-171).
6. Thus, the concern of Respondents and Intervenor-Respondents about Rivendell
selling wine at its proposed farm winery has no basis in law or fact.
B. THE TOWN OF NEW PALTZ, FARMS AND WINERIES
7. The Town of New Paltz Zoning Code in many places recognizes the need for
farmers to sell their products. A review of the Zoning Code states the very definition of a farm as;
FARM — Any parcel of land containing at least 10 acres which is
used for gain in raising of agricultural products, livestock, poultry
and dairy products. (emphasis added)
Zoning Code § 140-4(c).
8. In the Zoning Code, there are special provisions for the operations of farm stands in
the A1.5 District (the same Zoning District as Petitioners) and there has never even, to the best of
my knowledge, an instance of a farm stand being prosecuted by the Town for selling or attempting
to sell products that are not produced on their own farm.
9. Indeed, the ability of most farms to sustain themselves and prosper is based on
maximizing their sales from their retail operations, and many farms have found it necessary to
expand the products they sell beyond the scope of their own production. The exploitation of this
basic right has never been challenged before by the Town and is in place in over a dozen farm
operations, from u-pick apple farms to more traditional farm stores. For the Town of New Paltz to
classify a farm winery as something different from a more traditional farm store, is to selectively
apply a discriminatory standard to wineries, which are, by all expert testimony, considered just as
agricultural in nature as these more traditional farms.
10. Indeed, at this time of year one need only to open the local paper to see evidence of
farm operations that feature activities similar to Rivendell being lauded by the community. Not one
mile from our property is one of the largest farm stands in the mid-Hudson region, Wallkill View
Farm, which by any measure is a quintessential agricultural use and which prominently features:
… a baked goods counter, an ice cream bar, shelves of preserves and
spreads, garden supplies … an inviting eating area flanked by a stone
fireplace …“ and “… not only sells [Ferrante’s] crops, but those of
other local farmers, providing shoppers with one convenient stop and
lots of variety.
(New Paltz Times, Thursday April 3, 2008, page 20 – copy attached as Exhibit A)
11. This is but one of numerous farming operations in the Town of New Paltz that
operate by processing and selling products from buildings on their land. Clearly the products sold
on the farm property are not restricted to that which is grown upon their own farm. It is not, and
never has been the policy of the Town to interpret such use as a violation of the Town Zoning Code.
Historically, New Paltz has been a farming community where the efforts of dairymen, apple
growers, crop farmers and the like have been a source of pride for the community and a resource to
be protected. The community patronizes them and there has never been a question as to whether
they should be allowed.
12. The most extreme example of the arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable nature of
the decision of the Respondent Building Inspector and the Respondent ZBA solely against
Rivendell is set forth in a February 25, 2008 letter received by Petitioners from New Paltz Code
Enforcer Rodney Watrous, who works for Respondent Wiacek, in response to our written request
that the ZBA decision to disallow the use of a farm building for processing or sales should be
applied uniformly and equally among all similar farm uses in the Town of New Paltz. The Building
Department response was as follows:
We have carefully reviewed [the ZBA’s] decision and will continue to
act in a manner consistent with that decision as well the decision of
the Building Inspector that gave rise to the appeal.
With respect to the various issues raised in your letter, the
determination of the Building Inspector was made with respect to the
facts represented in the Rivendell Winery/Wine application, and is
limited to those facts. This office is not aware of any facts that
demonstrate the applicability of that determination to the other
circumstances described in your letter.
13. A copy of Petitioner’s February 7, 2008 request letter and the Building Department’s
February 25, 2008 response are attached here as Exhibits B and C, respectively.
14. A review of the Town of New Paltz Comprehensive Master Plan (excerpts of which
are annexed hereto at Exhibit D) finds numerous mentions of farming and agriculture, including
obvious references to the changing nature of farming, and the modern definitions and applications
of farming to wit:
From the Mission Statement:
The Town of New Paltz places high value on its small town feeling
and wishes to retain the character of the Town while enabling
responsible growth. Therefore, as the Town evaluates proposals for
development, and as zoning is revised, the Town will be guided by
the following precepts;
… use of policies for economic growth that enable responsive and
responsible growth while retaining the Town's unique features,
protecting agriculture and natural resources. (emphasis added).
From the Executive Summary:
Establish environmentally sound land use development policies to
ensure a balanced and orderly pattern of future growth and economic
stability, with regard to the community’s fiscal base, including the
protection of farmland. (emphasis added).
Tourism is another important economic driver for New Paltz and it
will increase the dominance of the service sector, including such
agribusiness facilities as farm markets. (emphasis added).
From the Basic Studies Summary - Existing Land Use:
Agriculture is important to the community, providing both
commercial and scenic benefits and is an ever-changing industry as
evidenced by the recent development of horse breeding (raising and
training) facilities. (emphasis added).
From the Basic Studies Summary – Existing Land Use – Demographics - Economy:
Tourism continues to be an important part of the area's economic
health, especially in Ulster County. Recently, late 1980's and 1990's,
there has been an increase in specialty agriculture, including
Wineries, Vegetable and Horse Breeding Farms, while the traditional
Apple Industry remains important. (emphasis added).
From the Land Use Plan – Land Use Recommendations – New York State Agricultural
Districts and Farmland Preservation:
The orchards and farmlands of New Paltz are major features in the
economy and landscape and should be preserved wherever possible.
Some of these areas arc included in agricultural districts. These
districts, which last for a period of eight years and may be extended,
do not necessarily protect such lands from development pressures.
Conservation easements and transfer of development rights arc two
examples of mechanisms to preserve these lands. Agricultural
activities should be protected and encouraged in Resource Protection
Rural Density (RPRD), Resource Protection Low Density (RPLD),
Resource Protection Low-Medium Density, and Flood Plain Zones.
From the Open Space and Recreation Plan:
The continued presence of agriculture must be supported by all
practical means. (emphasis added).
15. The New Paltz Open Space Plan has, as a basic tenet, the following philosophy:
Protect and promote active farmland as key components of the
Town’s economy, rural character and scenic quality and for their open
space and tourism value. (emphasis added).
Other sentiments expressed on the Open Space Plan (excerpts of which are annexed hereto
at Exhibit E) include:
Agritourism is a growing sector in the region, especially in Ulster
County and New Paltz, and should not be overlooked as an important
income-generating tool. Agricultural landowners can increase their
diversity and profitability, and in some cases extend their income
throughout the four seasons, by incorporating agritourism
opportunities into their business plans. The Shawangunk Wine Trail is
an excellent example of successful agritourism in the New Paltz
region. Other examples of agritourism include bed and breakfast
(B&B)’s, corn mazes, and hay rides, all of which help to supplement
farm income and generate interest and new customers. (emphasis
The region’s chamber of commerce and other organizations also
produce valuable guides and materials that help to promote New
Paltz’ farm stands, pick-your-own, and other agritourism
destinations. The Town and Village can continue to support and
expand upon such valuable marketing and explore future areas for
expanded agritourism. Additionally, the Town’s zoning code and
other land-use regulations can be reviewed to ensure that agritourism
options are fully supported. (emphasis added).
The Town and Village’s comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance,
which are essentially land-use blueprints for the future, can be fully
supportive of agriculture. The comprehensive plan can include an
agriculture element, with specific goals and objectives for protecting
farmland as a part of the area’s economic base and rural character.
The Town’s zoning ordinance can ensure that agricultural uses are
allowed in various zoning districts and that allowed accessory uses
provide flexibility for landowners. For example, providing flexibility
for farmers or large-acreage landowners to develop a bed & breakfast
or a farm stand to supplement the farm income will help to diversify
income options and thus keep the land in farming while ensuring
enough land resources remain available for agricultural production.
16. Of particular noteworthiness is the following conservation concept from the Open
Space Plan of the Town of New Paltz (p. 24) which emphasizes the importance of providing
flexibility to farmers to generate income to support farm operations:
Adapt regulatory tools to accommodate activities on the farm that
support agriculture, such as farm stands, and bed & breakfasts.
Ensure that the zoning code provides adequate flexibility for
farms to diversify and generate income to support farm
operations. (emphasis added).
17. Respondent ZBA’s affirmance of the Building Inspector’s determination is
completely contrary to this provision of the Open Space Plan. Instead of allowing farms the
flexibility to generate income to support their farm operation, Respondent ZBA’s decision
completely disallows the exact type of diversification called for by the Open Space Plan to protect
the preservation of farmland.
18. All of the above citations to Town of New Paltz Zoning and Planning Documents
refer to the commercial nature of farming and agriculture and recognize the importance of the
protection of such uses and the adoption of rules and regulations to foster their growth and security.
Respondent ZBA claims that it has weighed all the evidence and while “[g]ood arguments have
been made before the Zoning Board of Appeals as to why farm wineries should be allowed by the
Town’s zoning laws,” (R. 11) it chose not to look to the Town Master Plan and other Town
Planning documents to see how farm operations, including farm wineries, have been defined, how
agricultural uses have been allowed and how a key land use policy of the Town is to encourage
farm uses, including farm wineries.
19. In spite of the professed support of the Town of New Paltz and especially the
Respondent ZBA as to the importance of farm wineries in the Town I find it somewhat unusual that
a farm winery is not listed as a permitted use in the A-1.5 Zoning District where our property is
located. More importantly, the Zoning Ordinance of the Town of New Paltz does not list a farm
winery or a winery as a permitted use in any zoning district within the Town. Aside from the fact
that the Zoning Ordinance may have illegally excluded a farm winery or winery as a permitted use
anywhere within the Town, this text exclusion gives further credence to our argument that the
words “Agricultural use” set forth in the Zoning Code must be construed to include a winery or a
20. In this regard I also wish to reiterate to the Court the written statement of Patrick
Hooker, the New York State Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Markets, which
was submitted to the Respondent ZBA on our behalf. As set forth in Commissioner Hooker’s letter
dated August 6, 2007 (R. 29-30):
As long as the wine that is prepared is composed predominantly of
grapes produced on the farm, the processing and fermentation activity
and the on-farm buildings and equipment which are needed to store
and ferment the grapes which are processed on the farm are part of the
farm operation. The on-farm marketing of the wine under these
circumstances is also part of the farm operation.
Since Rivendell Winery is moving to a new location and the winery
does not currently own a vineyard, the Department would evaluate the
facility as a “start-up” farm operations on a case by case basis taking
into account the specific facts of a situation. Start-up winery/vineyard
operations often start out bringing in a large percentage of grapes and
juice grown off the farm in order to develop a customer base and
maintain income while the farm is growing its own varieties. It
generally takes approximately five to six years for vines to begin
producing grapes of a quantity needed to support the facility. If a
percentage of on-farm products is required by a locality, allowing
such farms a reasonable period of time to meet the percentage is
Based upon the above described information provided by you,
applicable law, and upon consultation with the Advisory Council on
Agriculture, it is my opinion that the use of the land in question for
the production of grapes, the fermentation of such grapes to produce
wine and the retail sale of the wine, is agricultural in nature. These
activities are, of course, subject to any State or federal requirements
applicable to the processing, storage and sale of alcoholic products.
21. Commissioner Hooker’s letter is further indication that the determination of the
Respondent ZBA not to classify the Rivendell Farm Winery as an agricultural use is arbitrary,
capricious and unreasonable.
C. REGARDING AGRICULTURAL DISTRICTS
22. The decision of Respondent ZBA states:
It is undisputed that the two (2) parcels of land owned by the
Appellant are not located within an established Agricultural District
established in accordance with the provisions of Article 25AA of
Agriculture and Markets law. Owners of land used in agricultural
production laying outside of established districts may qualify for an
agricultural assessment under Agriculture and Markets law, section
306, provided however that “lands used in agricultural production
shall not include lands or portions thereof used for processing or retail
merchandising of such crops. (Agriculture and Markets Law Section
23. It is a mistaken premise that only lands outside of Agricultural Districts (“Ag
Districts”) can be denied an agricultural assessment for lands used for processing or sales – the
same hold true for land within an Ag District. According to Respondent ZBA’s decision, there
would be no land ever that is used for processing or sales that would qualify for an Agricultural
Assessment. And if that is the case, then how can ANY farm building ever be used for these
purposes within the A-1.5 Zoning District? How have the numerous farms and other agricultural
production facilities in the Town been allowed to operate? How can cider mills, cheese makers and
ice cream makers work and sell from their farms? Because an Agriculture Assessment is not the
standard utilized to define an agriculture use. This is a standard which defines tax assessments and
has no place being used to define a farm or agricultural use – especially where that definition has
never been used before and is now being improperly applied only to the lands and application of the
D. RIVENDELL’S WINERY ACTIVITIES
24. The New York Farm Winery Act has become a model for winery legislation all over
the country. Today, there are farm wineries, selling from their own tasting rooms, in every state of
the United States. In New York today there are more than 250 farm winery licenses and every one
located in an agricultural zone is permitted a tasting room (through which it makes its sales).
According to a study by The New York State Senate Task Force for Hudson Valley Fruit Growers
dated May 10, 2006 and chaired by Senator Larkin, 85% of all wine manufactured by Hudson
Valley wineries (and there are 35) is sold in their own tasting rooms. In addition, the right of farm
wineries to sell from their tasting rooms vis a vis NYS Alcohol Beverage Control Law is well
documented by the letter in the record from Law Professor, Charles Crampton, acknowledged as the
state expert in this area of law. (R.170-171).
25. Rivendell seeks to run its business as it has for the past 20 years pursuant to its rights
under State Law. Contrary to public statements made by our NIMBY opponents, Rivendell Winery
is not a convention center, a hotel, a restaurant, a bar, a liquor store, or a wedding palace. Our
business activities are all geared toward the sale of our wine. We have supplied extensive
descriptions of our landscaping and site plans to the Town Planning Board and there should be no
concern over the impact the winery will have on the neighborhood. Lighting is all designed to be
night sky compliant, and all steps are being taken to design natural site barriers to screen areas such
as parking. Our winery will not create a nuisance or safety issue with sound or light, at any hour.
26. We outline herein some important elements of our methods of operation (R. 306-
• Open hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• We have a maximum of 3 full time employees and upwards of 5 part-time employees,
• All sales and tasting activities will take place within the building. There will be picnic tables
scattered around the property for patrons to use.
• Sales are limited to New York wine of our own production and other wineries from around
the State as well as retail sale of cheese, meats, pate and the like – all from local artisanal
producers – for on-site picnicking purposes. We do not provide table service. We do not
cook food for on-premises consumption.
• Events are limited to daytime (business hours) for open-to-the-public events such as those of
the Shawangunk Wine Trail. Traffic is minimal and we have never, in 20 years of operation,
had complaints or problems with our neighbors over events. As for the few private events
(two in 2006), most of them are under 50 person meetings of not-for-profits held indoors
and without live music. They are held at Rivendell because Rivendell’s wine tastings are at
the same time fun and educational and we make it available to these groups at minimal cost.
We do so because of our community spirit.
• We do not have outdoor speakers, but we do have two outdoor events each year. Each of
these events constitutes no more activity and commotion than a neighborhood lawn party,
activities which none of our few residential neighbors would ever be denied. A
characterization of our outdoor activities are:
o On the Fourth of July we host a free outdoor jazz concert – attendance totals approx
100 people. This is during the afternoon and is over before dark – expressly to allow
attendees to go and see a fireworks display.
o In Mid-September, we host an event we call the Lobster Fest. It is an outdoor tented
affair with pre-sold tickets – i.e. not open to the general public. Total attendance in
2006 was 475 people (our largest event to date.) There are 5 seating times; 1, 2, 3, 4
and 5 p.m., which dictate the traffic flow and we create a natural cap of 100 people
E. ALLEGED TRAFFIC CONCERNS
27. There have been concerns expressed by certain neighbors over traffic impacts that
operating our farm winery on our property will have on the surrounding neighborhood and I would
like to address them here. They are more fully addressed in our Traffic Impact Study which we
submitted to the Town and is annexed hereto at Exhibit F.
28. The total number of groups arriving by bus in 2007 was 14 for the entire year. We
allow groups to arrive on a bus only on a pre-arranged basis and never more than one at a time.
These organized tours consist of an approximately one to one and a half hour wine seminar and
tasting, seated at tables. Tour guests are then given the opportunity to purchase wines and other
items before leaving. We do NOT allow buses to show up un-announced and we do NOT allow
buses during Wine Trail events. All of our traffic is generated during regular business hours i.e.
during the work day. We do not impact commuting or school bus traffic. (R.313).
29. Motor traffic patterns have been cited in our Traffic Impact Study previously
submitted to the Planning Board of the Town of New Paltz and were discussed in our memoranda to
the Planning Board, dated March 30, 2007 (R.307-308) and June 13, 2007 (R.314). Given our
location on a 55 mph, County highway, with its full natural compliment of trucking and civilian
traffic, the fact that it is the major east/west artery for traffic traveling between Ulster and Sullivan
counties and one of two area routes across the Shawangunk mountain range, the traffic impact of
Rivendell is minor. High season traffic (October) has never congested our current winery property
and even with an unlikely 100% increase in traffic at the new winery, cars will only fill our 30
planned parking spaces approximately 7 days a year. The concern over traffic control devices at
this bucolic intersection already exist. The minor addition of winery traffic will not change such
30. With regards to non-customer vehicular traffic, we receive deliveries and ship out on
the following schedule:
• UPS delivery/pickup once per day
• 1 – 2 times per week a panel truck deliveries wine
• 1 time per week our own company vehicle (a van) makes a pickup and/or delivery
• 3 – 5 times per year a larger truck delivers bottles, grapes or juice.
F. ALLEGED ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS
31. A full analysis is in the record in the form of the Rivendell Vineyard Integrated Pest
Management overview submitted to the ZBA on November 13, 2007. (R.277-278). In summary:
wine grapes are, by nature a delicate fruit, requiring specific care be given to the management of
pests, mildews and disease. It should be noted that grape growing (viticulture) is one of the lowest
impact fruit crops, typically utilizing the lowest toxicity chemicals to control problems.
32. Rivendell intends to follow a regimen that as closely follows an organic
methodology as possible. That does not mean that there will be no spraying of chemicals in the
vineyard, it means that there will be no spraying of chemicals in the vineyard that do not have either
an elemental origin or are certified for use in organic farming. All of the sprays contemplated will
be classified “Reduced Risk”, “Minimum Risk” or “Biopesticides”. We will not use any Restricted
Use pesticides, fungicides or herbicides. The risk to the neighborhood from sprays and other
farming techniques is so minor that their application will likely go completely un-noticed.
G. OUR NEIGHBORS
33. Intervenor Respondents Kevin C. Harp and Joseph E. O’Connor represent a very
small group of neighbors that have expressed opposition to the use of our property for a farm
winery. That group is small because there are only a handful of houses could theoretically be
impacted by the activities of the winery at all. Moreover, there have been several neighbors who
have spoken out at public hearings but who, after conversations and discussions with us, have
reached an understanding of our intentions, have withdrawn their opposition and now support us.
34. Intervenor Respondent Harp, an attorney who works in the Ulster County District
Attorney’s office, has spent an inordinate amount of time and money opposing us in a classic
NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) display. His Motion to Intervene and other papers submitted by his
law firm, Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna, LLP, speak as if residential interests are being pitted
against business interests, when in fact, in his case, business interest is being pitted against business
interest. Respondent Harp attempts to confuse the court into believing that the area in question is
historically a residential area, when in fact it is historically an agricultural area, always zoned as
such use. This area has recently seen residential development of extremely large single family
homes. What Intervenor Respondent Harp fails to indicate is that he himself is an active real estate
developer, not merely a resident in the area. Intervenor Respondent Harp inherited a large tract of
agricultural land several years ago that he has subsequently subdivided and is in the process of
developing with oversized houses– razing historic barns and farmhouses to do so.
35. In his attempts to marshall support from the community, and in his intervention in
this litigation, Intervenor Respondent Harp has blatantly misrepresented many facts. Among those
is his attempt to confuse the court into believing that the proposed winery is a largely commercial
operation, replete with conference centers, restaurant activities and loud outdoor activities. It is
well established that our business is a small farm winery, without the commercial trappings Harp
attempts to color it with.
36. My wife, Susan Wine, and I live on this property. In fact we have been members of
this neighborhood for over thirty years, having lived less than a half mile away until last year. We
sold our longtime home in order to move onto this property and establish our new vineyard and
farm winery. We are naturally concerned for our own quality of life and would never do the things
that a few neighbors fear will negatively affect their quality of life.
37. If the Court accepts the arguments of individuals such as Intervenors Harp and
O’Connor it will be accepting a philosophy that residential developers can buy up land that is zoned
for agricultural use in the Town of New Paltz, subdivide such lands and erect mega mansions on
such farmland. As the Court is probably aware, this is exactly what has happened on the East Fork
of Long Island in towns such as Southampton and Easthampton where residential developers have
bought out lands owned by farmers, have subdivided the farmlands and built huge mansions on the
subdivided lots which sell for far in excess of one million dollars. We would earnestly request the
Court not to allow a few voracious residential developers to buy up the lands zoned for agriculture
use in the Town of New Paltz and convert such farms, whether they be apple farms, vegetable farms
or farm wineries into high priced residential housing. Both residential and agricultural uses can
coexist within the same zoning district and the Zoning Code of the Town of New Paltz specifically
allows both uses. Please do not allow a few NIMBY neighbors to drive our farm winery out of the
Town of New Paltz.
38. The issues before this Court are legal ones, namely whether our proposed farm
winery constitutes an agriculture use as defined by the Town of New Paltz Zoning Code and the
Agriculture and Markets Law of the State of New York. Respondent ZBA should not have allowed
itself to be the object of NIMBY pressures.
39. For the foregoing reasons, the determination of Respondent ZBA to uphold the
interpretation of Respondent Wiacek that the farm winery proposed to be established by Petitioner
Rivendell on lands owned by Petitioner Susan L. Wine was arbitrary, capricious and unlawful.
Unfortunately, Respondent ZBA in arriving at its Decision, did not follow State law, the Zoning
Ordinance of the Town of New Paltz and other relevant authorities. Instead Respondent ZBA gave
in to the opposition of a few of our neighbors who although they live in large single family homes
on large lots, do not want a farm winery anywhere near their houses, although our proposed farm
winery use is permitted under the Town of New Paltz Zoning Code and pursuant to the
requirements of the Agriculture and Markets Law of the State of New York.
WHEREFORE, the petition should be granted.
Sworn to before me this
day of April, 2008