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Winery fights town over concert restrictions

Unable to resolve differences over issues concerning this weekend's NOFO Rock and Folk Festival in Cutchogue, the event's organizers went to court Tuesday seeking to prevent the Town of Southold from imposing new restrictions on the concert.

One of the issues in dispute is when the concert must end, according to the event's promoter, Josh Horton, and Southold Supervisor Scott Russell.

Russell said the bands must stop playing at 6 p.m. Horton said under the initial permit, issued on June 11, by the town's Zoning and Board of Appeals, the bands were allowed to play until 10:30 p.m.

Horton and the group's attorney, Michael Zapson, said the town board does not have the authority to change the terms of a permit issued by the town's Board of Zoning and Appeals, an independent agency.

State Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Arlen Spinner ordered both parties to return Thursday morning to Riverhead for a hearing.

The Peconic Bay Winery announced plans to stage the NOFO Rock and Folk Festival, where crowds will hear artists from Richie Havens to Mountain. Some locals, fed up with the noise and the traffic that comes with such events, have complained to the town.

Vineyards and their events have been a growing source of irritation for some North Fork residents who complained about increasing traffic and noise.

They also complained that the vineyards get hefty break on taxes, which some said, compete unfairly with local businesses because of the tax breaks they get on agricultural land.

While town officials want the wineries on the North Fork to be successful enterprises that pump millions of dollars into the local economy, they have to be mindful of residents' concerns for quality of life issues such as traffic and noise, Russell had said.

Both Southold and Riverhead are considering new rules to limit such events and the accompanying noise and traffic.

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