Beer flows again at Olney Place in Barrington

After more than two years, customers at The Olney Place on Keuka Lake are able to drink a beer that is drawn from the taps on the bar in the tap room at Seth Olney’s deli and market.

Olney learned last Friday, June 15, that his argument prevailed in a case before the Supreme Court of New York Appellate Division. The appeal had been filed by the Town of Barrington in response to a decision by Acting Yates County Judge Dennis Bender, who ruled in May 2017 that the New York State Liquor Authority has exclusive jurisdiction to grant a liquor license.

Town officials and neighbors had attempted to prevent the sale of beer in the tap room that was added to the market in 2014. They argued Olney misrepresented the planned use of the addition when he applied for the building permit in 2013.

Olney’s original SLA license had permitted the sale of beer for on site consumption from the original store, and after adding the 30×20 taproom, he needed to apply for a license to cover the additional space.

After the expansion of the market, neighbors complained to town officials about customers trespassing on private property, noise from gatherings at the business, and rude behavior of some customers. Their complaints lead to a decision by the town’s zoning board of appeals to annually review the Special Use Permit for the addition and a small deck.

A cascade of lawsuits, complaints, and clashes between Olney supporters, town officials, and neighbors drove a wedge in a small town where families have lived side-by-side for generations.

During those disputes, it was discovered that State Liquor Authorities had lost track of an obscure local law that prohibited any sales of alcohol for on-site consumption in the town of Barrington. In November, town residents voted to authorize all sales of alcohol within the town, and the state liquor authority ultimately ruled that Olney was legally permitted to sell alcohol in the new taproom.

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