In the meantime, the hatchery continues its legal fight to install a wind turbine on its waterfront property. ARC is suing the Old King's Highway Regional Historic District Commission, whose members determined the turbine was not an appropriate use for the historic zone. A trial is set for the fall in Orleans District Court, Hart said.
DENNIS – A shellfish hatchery considered vital to the Cape’s economic interests could become a county-owned facility.
The Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates last week heard a proposal under which the county would purchase the Aquacultural Research Corp. on Chapin Beach Road for $4 million and lease it back to the shellfish operation.
“We’ve been trying to come up with a way for the whole operation to continue,” Gail Hart, one of ARC’s three owners, said.
The arrangement would be similar to the situation at the Barnstable County farm property on Route 6A just east of Barnstable Village, where the county owns the property and leases out the land, she said.
“We would have a long-term lease back from the county,” Hart said. The purchase and sale would require that a shellfish hatchery – whether ARC or another outfit – operate at the 39-acre site.
ARC would use the money to tear down and update the hatchery building and invest in the property, Hart said.
“We absolutely have to rehabilitate this place,” she said.
The buildings and grounds are more than 50 years old, said Richard Kraus, ARC president and co-owner.
The assembly passed a resolution in support of the plan last week after listening to a presentation by William Clark, director of the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension. “This is vital to many other businesses on the Cape and as an industry unto itself,” “‰Yarmouth delegate Spyro Mitrokostas said.
The towns on the Cape rely on ARC stock to seed their shellfish beds, and most of the private shellfish farms do business with the hatchery, he said.
“Without them we wouldn’t have any recreational shellfishing or commercial shellfishing either,” said Mitrokostas, who also heads the Dennis Chamber of Commerce.
Anybody who has ever ordered a Wellfleet or Chatham oyster can thank seed from the ARC for the treat, he said. ARC also provides quahog stock.
To help pay for the purchase of the hatchery property, Clark proposed increasing recreational shellfish licenses $10 across the Cape, with a hike of $50 for commercial permits.
It will be up to selectmen and town officials in all 15 Cape towns to approve the increase, Mashpee delegate Marcia King said .
She said Clark, who was out of the office and not available for comment, was “doing the road trip” and meeting with municipal officials.
“I think it’s a reasonable proposal,” King said. “This is economic development on the Cape.”
King suggested some of the Cape and Islands license plate money received by the Cape Cod Economic Development Council also go to help pay for the hatchery purchase.
‘We should all kick in’
“We should all kick in and try to help,” she said.
Several towns already are on board with the county’s plans, Kraus said.
He said he wants to give people who make a living off the shellfish hatchery a way to keep their businesses going.
In the meantime, the hatchery continues its legal fight to install a wind turbine on its waterfront property.
ARC is suing the Old King’s Highway Regional Historic District Commission, whose members determined the turbine was not an appropriate use for the historic zone. A trial is set for the fall in Orleans District Court, Hart said.
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