SANBORN — The Town of Cambria will hold a public hearing Thursday to discuss proposed amendments to the zoning ordinance.
Town Supervisor Wright Ellis said the proposed zoning changes were inspired by concerns residents raised about one winery having big parties and creating noise that upset the neighbors. He declined to identify the specific winery.
Ellis said the changes were submitted to New York State Agriculture and Markets and that, after suggesting some revisions, which the town accepted, the town's proposed amendments were supported by the agency.
In the amendments, there is a brand new section proposed to deal with special event permits for agriculture tourism businesses, which includes breweries, cider mills, distilleries, meaderies, microbreweries or wineries. Ellis said the town looked at the Town of Lockport's special event permits section of its zoning ordinance as a guide for the proposed amendments.
Ellis said the purpose of the special events permit addition is to regulate events that do not relate to farm activities.
"It is the policy of the Town of Cambria to encourage all farm activities and especially innovative agricultural tourism/agribusiness related farm activities while protecting the comfort and safety of its residents to the greatest extent possible," the revised ordinance reads.
Ellis said he does not expect many businesses will be impacted by the special events permit addition because of the exceptions that are carved out in the amendment. The specifically named event exceptions are Niagara County Wine Trail events, weddings, wine pairing dinners, showers, private parties and pig roasts.
Another section outlines what activities are not considered "farm activities." Some of the listed activities include: live music; food trucks; vendors; pop-up boutiques; painting classes; baby/bridal showers; craft shows; hot air balloon rides; fireworks; pedal karts; cow train and other similar activities because it is "beyond the customary meaning of a farm operation" in New York State Agricultural and Markets Law.
If the amendments are adopted, a special event permit application would need to be submitted to the planning board 60 days before any event covered under the ordinance. The event could be rejected or subject to a late processing fee of $250 if the 60-day timeframe is not met. The application fee for a special event permit would be $250.
Any business that fails to get a special event permit would be subject to a fine of between $500 to $1,000. If the business owners fail to comply with the terms of the permit, they would also be subject to a fine between $500 to $1,000. Also, no future permits would be issued to a business if they are named as a defendant in an outstanding or unresolved violation of the special event permit section.
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at Cambria Town Hall, 4160 Upper Mountain Road.