DENNIS – Two-and-a-half years after the Dennis Old Kings Highway Historic District Committee approved Aquacultural Research Corporation’s application to construct a 600 kilowatt wind turbine on its 39-acre property adjacent to Chapin Beach in Dennis, an Orleans District Court judge will decide the fate of ARC’s application. The trial is set to begin at 9 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 14.
Following the Dennis committee’s August 2010 approval, Rosemarie Austin, who considers herself a “visual abutter,” appealed that decision to the regional OKH Commission, which overturned the local determination. Since 2011, ARC has been fighting that action in court.
ARC owners Dick Kraus, Gail Hart and Susan Machie say the turbine would offset the shellfish hatchery’s high energy bills and allow them to reinvest in their business’s outdated buildings.
During this time, Judge Brian Merrick has granted Dennis selectmen’s request to intervene as an interested party. Merrick denied the same request by the town of Yarmouth, where some residents in the Gray’s Beach area south of the ARC property support Austin’s appeal.
Last year Bill Clark, director of the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, proposed a plan to buy the ARC property and set out to begin raising the funds through a surcharge on shellfish licenses in all 14 Cape towns. As the only commercial hatchery in Massachusetts, Clark said, ARC is extremely valuable. If Clark can obtain state and federal grants, and if each town agrees to the surcharge to pay off a bond for the remaining cost, the county could seal the purchase.
The public-private partnership would allow ARC to lease the land from the county and build a state-of-the-art, energy-efficient facility to carry on the business.
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