AVON- Avon homeowners Sandy and Bruce Howlett are taking heat from New York State officials for alleged fire safety violations in the spacious white barn on their property, which they offer as an attractive wedding site for engaged couples.
The Howletts have already hosted multiple weddings in the barn over the past few weeks. Tony Cappello, Code Enforcement Officer for the Town of Avon, boldly defies State orders to board up the barn and cancel weddings that have been in the works for years.
“I will not do this,” said Cappello at the Avon Town Board meeting on Thursday, holding a stack of letters from the State. “If you want, we can talk about it, but I will not do this. If we did what this tells us to, we would be sued.”
According to Cappello, an Avon resident reported the barn to the State as unsafe because it has no emergency sprinkler system. Cappello maintains that the structure is built entirely to code, right down to fine details like a gravel road leading up to the barn, large patches of open grass for guests to exit the structure, and three wide doors that up to 200 people could pass through in very little time.
Cappello added that a sprinkler system was not part of the Howlett’s original plan for barn weddings, which was approved by State officials a few years ago. The Howletts did not wish to make any statements, since they are still discussing the matter closely with their attorney.
The Town Board has decided, at Supervisor David LeFeber’s suggestion, to hold a special meeting to address this issue on Thursday, July 17, at 7:00pm in the conference room upstairs at 23 Genesee Street.