Barrington halts action against Olney Place

Gwen Chamberlain
Seth Olney at his Barrington business, Olney Place.

The Barrington Town Board has unanimously agreed to not take further action in regard to the 2016 legal action that could have put a stop to serving beer in the taproom at Olney Place.

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York issued an order June 15 that dismissed the town’s appeal of Yates County Judge Dennis Bender’s earlier decision which favored Olney Place owner Seth Olney. The Appellate order included some language that could have led some to see another option for the town to pursue, calling Bender’s judgment, “an inappropriately rendered advisory opinion.”

However, after an executive session during the June 27 town board meeting, the board voted unanimously, and without comment, to take no further action. Some board members and Supervisor John Kuehn had met with the town’s attorney June 21 to go over the decision. Deputy Supervisor Nate Olney (Seth’s father) and the most recently elected town board member, Bryan Yarrington, were not present at that meeting, which was held behind closed doors as well.

The appeal had been filed by the Town of Barrington in response to the decision by 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.

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 led 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 followed.

Now, Olney and some other Barrington property owners are keeping an eye on work town officials are doing on revisions to the town’s zoning law.