Posted by: Patricia Salkin | August 16, 2011

OH Supreme Court Holds Winery Exempt from Zoning Regulations

The Supreme Court of Ohio held that a winery in a residential district was exempt from zoning regulations of Milton Township, because the state’s Revised Code includes an exemption for buildings used for vinting and selling wine, as long as the property in question is also used to cultivate grapes for wine making. 

The case involved a family-owned winery, Myrddin Wine Co., which bottled, labeled and sold wine, but grew only 5 percent of its grapes on site.  A trial court issued a permanent injunction, shuttering the business, concluding that the winery could not operate under an exception found in Ohio Revised Code §519.21(A), because the winery did not fall within the general definition of agriculture and was primarily involved in making wine, not growing grapes. 

An appellate court affirmed the ruling, but the state’s highest court reversed, pointing to the plain language of the statute, which bars local officials from prohibiting land uses for agricultural purposes, or prohibiting the use of buildings or incidental structures required for agricultural purposes.  The statute specifically includes “buildings or structures that are used primarily for venting and selling wine and that are located on land any part of which is used for viticulture,” and further states that “no zoning certificate shall be required for any such building or structure.” 

The statute does not require that viticulture be the primary use of the property, the high court held, so the winery is exempt from zoning regulations. 

Terry v. Sperry, 201 WL 2732266 (Ohio, 2011) 

The opinion can be accesses at: http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/rod/docs/pdf/0/2011/2011-ohio-3364.pdf


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