Dennis – Aquacultural Research Corporation has given up its five-year fight to construct a 243-foot, 600 kW wind turbine on its 39-acre property adjacent to Chapin Beach in Dennis.
Tuesday night, ARC President Richard Kraus announced the decision to Dennis selectmen. “We have concluded that it is highly unlikely that we will obtain the permits to construct the project on our property in Dennis and/or within the Old King’s Highway Historic District. It appears the opponents of wind energy will be able to effectively stall or stop any wind turbines from being built within the historic district. Even if we prevail at trial, other appeals could drag this case out for several more years.”
Kraus said that even though he and his partners Gail Hart and Susan Machie wish they could carry out their appeal to its conclusion, they are “taking the pragmatic approach and withdrawing from the case.”
Dennis selectmen unanimously endorsed the project when ARC was in the first stages of application for a certificate of appropriateness from the town’s Old King’s Highway Historic District Committee. Selectmen also won Orleans District Court Judge Brian Merrick’s approval to participate in the court case.
ARC maintained that in order to stay in the business of producing most of Cape Cod and the South Shore’s shellfish seed, it needed to reduce its energy costs. Kraus, Hart and Machie appealed the commission’s ruling, sending the matter to court.
In 2007 Kraus and his partners began working with engineers on the feasibility phase of the project “to determine the scientific and economic viability of a wind turbine on Chapin Beach.” During that phase scientists collected and reviewed 15 years of wind data, engineers conducted ground borings, naturalists determined the potential impact on birds and engineers produced photo simulations of the proposed turbine from key locations within the historic district.
“We reviewed the possibility of using other forms of renewable energy before determining that the wind turbine was our only reasonable option,” Kraus said.
In August 2010, the local Old King’s Highway Committee, on a 3-2 vote, granted a certificate of appropriateness for the project. Rosemarie Austin of Dennis, who considers herself a visual abutter, appealed the decision, sending it to the OKH Regional Commission, which overturned the local committee’s vote.
ARC has been in court fighting the regional commission’s decision since November 2010.
“We must turn our attention to our aquaculture business and readjust our vision for that company,” Kraus said. “You have made us feel that ARC is a valuable asset to the town. Through your support, your board has helped keep us going through a difficult period.”