A new state law allows wineries in New Jersey to host weddings and other types of special events. However, in recent business litigation, the Borough of West Cape May alleges that Willow Creek Winery is not complying with the conditions required in the new legislation. The borough also contends that the winery needs to apply for a state pilot program before it is allowed to continue hosting events.
The new law actually centers on 19 vineyards that are on preserved lands. Willow Creek is one of these farms, and receives public funds based on a restriction of the land to only agricultural uses. The concern is that the other events might overshadow the traditional use of the land that the taxpayers are supporting. The borough claims that Willow Creek has only met half of the 11 conditions outlined in the law and hasn’t filed to be part of the pilot program.
Attorneys for Willow Creek contend that there is nothing in the law that states the venue has to stop allowing events while it waits to enter the pilot program. There have also been other complaints about the venue violating noise ordinances, but again the attorney contends there is nothing in the law that says events have to halt while the issue is being adjudicated. The borough is currently seeking an injunction to stop all events until Willow Creek satisfies all the terms of the new law.
As this case shows, laws are open to interpretation. In some instances, it may be possible for the parties to reach a settlement that addresses the needs of both the government and the business owner.
Source: Press of Atlantic City, “West Cape May sues Willow Creek Winery over weddings“, Richard Degener, August 08, 2014