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St. James vineyard seeks special permit to host weddings, outdoor events

St. James, a hamlet in the Town of

St. James, a hamlet in the Town of Smithtown, and is home to the oldest continuously operating general store in the United States. (July 17, 2011) Credit: Erin Geismar

A St. James vineyard’s plans to host weddings and other gatherings will be the subject of a Smithtown Town board public hearing Thursday night.

Whisper Vineyard, part of Borella’s Farm Stand on Edgewood Avenue, is seeking a special exception permit to hold outdoor events at the 53-acre farm. The winery planted its first grapes in 2004 and is awaiting state approval to begin marketing wine.

The public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at the town senior center, 420 Middle Country Rd.

Smithtown planning director Frank DeRubeis said the permit, if approved by the town board, would ban live outdoor music after 9 p.m., bar parking on neighboring roads, and limit events to the spring and summer months.

Wineries on the East End in recent years have hosted wedding receptions and other events, despite objections from some residents who cited loud music and vehicles parked on local roads.

DeRubeis said he consulted with East End town officials when he considered Whisper Vineyard’s application.

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