MUEHL: Oberacker/Wheeler Winery Legal?

Letter from Joseph T. Muehl

Oberacker/Wheeler Winery Legal?

On July 16, 2022, I was informed by persons receiving certified letters from Christine Alvarado and Ron Wheeler that Peter Oberacker (NYS Senator) and his partner Ron Wheeler (Town of Maryland Town Supervisor) were building a Winery, Event and Wedding Venue on their property across from Sparrowhawk Lake in Schenevus. Their property is within 500 feet of lake property. The certified letter was issued on July 13 despite the fact that building renovation and construction, installing a septic system and parking lot, has been going on for months.

I contacted Keith Darragh, Otsego County Code Enforcement Officer. He informed me that NO building permit applications had been submitted by Oberacker/Wheeler for the alteration of their property. He said that the only application was for a permit for a Commercial Change of Occupancy for the property stated.

He said that the permit had not been granted. When asked by me, he stated since NO permits were issued and that what Oberacker/Wheeler have been doing for several months is ILLEGAL. I requested that he go to the property to assess the situation. He refused and told me that the County Code Enforcement Office was understaffed and only AFTER the Town issued a Special Use Permit, would he go out to examine the property.

On the same day, July 20, I then contacted the Otsego County District Attorney, John Muehl. He told me that he would make some phone calls .I then contacted the Town of Maryland Zoning Enforcement Officer, Paul Neske, and he returned my phone call on July 22. He informed me that the property in question is zoned as a commercial property (C-5) NOT an agricultural property (A-5) as listed on all of the Official County Maps on public record. He informed me that a Change of Use Application had been received by the Town regarding the property. He said that the property had an “Unlisted” designation and therefore, Oberacker/Wheeler could basically do whatever they wanted to the property WITHOUT HAVING ANY BUILDING PERMITS APPROVED but they would be doing so at their own risk. In essence, they could do construction, install a septic system, modify buildings, etc. but they would carry the risk if the Town did not approve of their application for a Special Use Permit. He told me that the septic system that has already been installed was designed by and signed off by an engineer. He also told me that an Environmental Impact Study was NOT mandated. He told me that the Town Planning Board could vote on this as early as August 8 following the meeting.

Late July the District Attorney, John Muehl informed me that Paul Neske was not accurate. The property in question is zoned AGRICULTURAL, NOT COMMERCIAL. I was MISINFORMED by the Town Zoning Officer. John Muehl said that the County Code Enforcement visited the construction site on July 28 and a STOP WORK ORDER was issued because what is being done is ILLEGAL. However he said that it is not a criminal violation and the only consequence is they could be fined for violating the Stop Work Order. WORK ON THE SITE HAS CONTINUED UNABATED SINCE THE 28th. Mr. Muehl also told me that the August 8 meeting at the Town Hall is to CHANGE the zoning to commercial; not just issue a Special Use Permit as stated in the certified letters that we received. On August 1, I contacted the County Code Enforcement to inform them that their Stop Work Order has been and continues to be violated.

There is to be a Town of Maryland Planning Board meeting open to the public on August 8, 2022 at the Schenevus Town Hall, 40 Main Street, Schenevus, NY at 6:30 pm. I am asking that the Planning Board reject the proposal made by Oberacker/Wheeler.

Joseph T. Muehl

2 thoughts on “MUEHL: Oberacker/Wheeler Winery Legal?

  1. William

    Informed voters need to support another candidate. Oberacker promised much and nothing was accomplished in his district. Otsego County spent $75,000 for a promised trucking depot. It will be built in Schoharie County.
    Time for him to retire so he can be Winemaster of Schenevus.

  2. William

    Informed voters need to support another candidate. Oberacker promised much and nothing was accomplished in his district. Otsego County spent $75,000 for a promised trucking depot.

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