State appeals court rules in favor of oyster farm
May. 21, 2014
BOSTON (AP) — A man who wants to start an oyster farm off the coast of Mashpee over the objections of some residents has won an important legal victory.
A three-judge panel of the state appeals court on Tuesday ruled in favor of Richard Cook's proposed 1.9-acre farm, which already has necessary town and state permits.
The ruling upheld two lower court decisions that said the Board of Selectmen and the town Conservation Commission properly approved the operation to be located about a quarter-mile offshore.
Some neighbors whose homes overlook the water challenged each board's ruling in separate cases, saying the oyster farm posed a safety concern and would spoil their views. The court called the plaintiffs' arguments "without merit" and "specious."
Cook's lawyer and Mashpee's town counsel welcomed the decision.
"This decision was consistent with what the town has been saying all along," town attorney Patrick Costello told the Cape Cod Times. "I think the plaintiffs have taken the approach of throwing as much muck as possible against the wall and seeing what sticks."
A lawyer for the neighbors didn't immediately return a message. The decision could be appealed to the full Massachusetts Appeals Court or the Supreme Judicial Court.
Opponents also are appealing a town zoning board decision in court.
Homeowners also attempted to use a lobbying firm to persuade a state lawmaker to put a provision into the state budget that would have killed the project.