Aquaculture North America

MA oyster farm one step closer

October 1, 2014
By Neil Sims

Waterfront homeowners in Massachusetts opposed to a proposed oyster farm in Popponesset Bay in the Mashpee area of Cape Cod have lost another round in their fight to prevent the farm’s development.

         The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) wasn’t drawn into the claim that the Cape Cod Commission should review the project because it is a commercial development, an argument tossed out by the Appeals Court in May. In support of the Appeals Court decision, the SJC decided early in August that there would be no further review of the matter.

         The knock-down decision was the latest in a three-year legal battle shellfish grower Richard Cook has had with homeowners in the area of the bay. Despite both local and state regulatory approval for the Popponesset Bay project, work has been delayed by lawsuits. Neighbours have claimed that Cook’s intended 1.9-acre oyster farm will be a nuisance and potential safety hazard.

         In light of the latest court decision, Cook is cautiously optimistic he’ll be farming oysters in Popponesset Bay by next summer.

         There is one lawsuit still pending – an appeal being brought before the Massachusetts Land Court against the Mashpee Zoning Board of Appeals. In this case homeowners claim that the town’s zoning rules and regulations should extend into Popponesset Bay, and therefore apply to the proposed oyster farm. A decision is expected by year’s end. 

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