The South Bristol Select Board extended the town’s aquaculture lease moratorium for six months at the board’s meeting on Thursday, Sept. 14. The extension gives the town additional time to gather information and draft an aquaculture ordinance.
Voters at the annual town meeting in March approved the initial six-month aquaculture lease moratorium. The article allowed the select board to extend by six months.
The additional six months will extend the moratorium though March 2024, according to South Bristol Select Board Chair Bruce Farrin Jr.
According to board member Adam Rice, the select board began discussions on how to move forward in April, ultimately culminating in the select board’s creation of the aquaculture committee on Aug. 10.
“From listening sessions with residents, shellfish harvesters, and the harbor committee, it became clear there was much information we did not have about the process of aquaculture,” Rice said.
According to Rice, the committee’s mission is gathering more information about the aquaculture industry, as well as the potential impact on riparian landowners and other traditional uses of the water.
Rice was optimistic about the process and said the board has learned a lot from the committee already.
“In my opinion, it is working well so far. We have received positive feedback about our process to date,” Rice said. “We know much more about the industry and permit process than we did at the beginning, and different types of leases that are a big part of this conversation.”
The committee has no policy-making powers. Rather, its purpose is to gather information to present to the townspeople and select board.
The date for the next aquaculture committee meeting in October will be announced by the town office in the coming weeks.
In other news, five surveillance cameras were installed in the town office on Thursday, Sept. 14.
According to Farrin, the cameras came at the request of South Bristol residents “to protect interests of the town.”
“We wanted to make sure everyone is safe,” Farrin said.
According to Farrin, the cameras have been set up in the front office where most transactions with the public occur, and in the side room where town committees and boards hold regular meetings. The surveillance does not include audio.
Pro-tech Security, a security system supplier based in Warren, installed the surveillance system at a cost of $3,900.
The South Bristol Select Board’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29 in the town office.