A wedding gets blasted with ‘Highway to Hell’; a Skaneateles neighbor dispute goes to court

A Skaneateles wedding venue and a neighbor are involved in a bitter and noisy dispute that has landed in court.

The neighbor, who lives 500 feet away, says she’s tired of loud weddings disrupting her rural life. Owners of the venue say she’s retaliating by disrupting weddings by playing loud sounds and music — such as the theme to “Jaws,” sexually explicit rap and roosters crowing.

The wedding venue, The Sinclair of Skaneateles, recently filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court. It is seeking a court order to stop the woman from disrupting marriages and seeking money for defamation.

The woman, Christine Buff, says the wedding venue has made her life nearly unbearable.

“Not only do we hear them in our backyard, on our screened-in back porch, but inside our home, over window air conditioner and over TV,” he said in an interview.

Buff said she was all in favor of the wedding venue when it was proposed in 2016. The owners brought around a petition, wanting to have events at the old Sinclair Chair Factory at 4357 Jordan Road. Buff said she signed.

“The renovation they did is exquisite,” she said. “It’s a beautiful factory building.”

The weddings and events expanded to be bigger and more frequent, she said. Every weekend she and her husband could hear noise from the venue, she said.

Buff said she confronted the owners, but she said nothing changed. They had a meeting with the Town of Skaneateles supervisor and others to try to mediate but she said nothing happened.

Buff, who said she was a disabled veteran with PTSD, said she decided to try and live her life. She says her PTSD comes from working with her certified search dog in New York City recovering remains after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Her work was recognized with a state Senate award.

“We fixed up my backyard for a nice little meditation garden per my counselor’s suggestions and mindfulness,” she said. “And I can’t even use it.”

In response to a request for an interview, The Sinclair issued a statement through its law firm, Harris and Beach.

“We have fully complied with our permit, as we continuously strive to be good citizens to our neighbors, who are wonderful and overwhelmingly supportive of our business,” the statement said. “Unfortunately, court intervention is necessary to stop one neighbor’s persistent and deliberate efforts to create excessive noise during wedding ceremonies and receptions.”

In its lawsuit, the venue said Buff had shot off a gun and blasted the distracting music and sounds. Most recently, during an outside ceremony rehearsal on June 2, Buff blared AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell,” the suit claims.

The lawsuit also claims Buff defamed the venue in Facebook posts.

Buff posted about her plans to ruin a wedding and often followed through, the venue charged.

In April 2022, she posted she would call the cops to the wedding venue because she was “not sure a bride would appreciate cops at their reception,” according to the lawsuit.

In November 2022, she posted about her plans to ruin two weddings, the lawsuit said. Around Nov. 5, she posted she planned to pile dog feces on the road, shoot guns and run a chainsaw, the lawsuit said. Another time in November she posted she would shoot off guns during the wedding and then she did, the lawsuit said.

Around May 28, 2022, Buff posted there would be “weed-eating or using the chainsaw to take a tree down or having target practice” during a wedding, the suit said.

Guests at a wedding “looked towards the noise in disgust,” the lawsuit said. The bride called the noise “disappointing” and was concerned that the recording of the wedding ceremony was disturbed, according to the lawsuit. The Sinclair said it had to refund some money to the couple.

In the lawsuit, the company said it had proper permits for the business. It also said it has planted shrubs to try to stop any noise as well as installed special windows and acoustic panels in the ceiling.

Buff said admitted to Syracuse.com that she played music but said she’s never shot off a gun. She doesn’t even own guns, she said. Buff said she has posted what she calls mouthy comments on Facebook but said she was just expressing her frustration.

Staff writer Rylee Kirk covers breaking news, crime and public safety. Have a tip, story idea, photo, question or comment? Reach her at 315-396-5961, on Twitter @kirk_rylee, or [email protected].

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