CRMC subcommittee recommends denial of proposed South Kingstown oyster farm expansion

Updated at 5:20 p.m.

A SUBCOMMITTEE of the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council on Monday recommended to deny the application from Matunuck Oyster Bar owner Perry Raso, pictured above, to lease a second area for farming oysters and scallops in Potter Pond. / PBN FILE PHOTO/MIKE SKORSKI
SOUTH KINGSTOWN – A drawn-out fight between South Kingstown residents and a prominent business owner seeking to expand his oyster farm may be nearing a resolution. A subcommittee of the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council on Monday voted unanimously to recommend denying the application for a three-acre oyster and scallop farm in Potter Pond in…

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  1. I don’t really understand the “summer people” argument on water sports. The “Save Potters Pond” bs was signed by so many out of staters-who may spend money in Matunuck in the Summer but don’t live here. If the combined two areas are a total of only 3% of the pond, this seems like Perry’s being railroaded. I personally think he does responsible oyster farming, and that his restaurant brings jobs and dollars to South Kingstown-while still allowing all kinds of activity on the pond. This feels personal, like some rich people who own property around the pond are irritated and looking for any excuse to shut this down.

  2. i m on the shellfish advisory panel and recommended that this application be approved. i looked at the size of the pond in which the farm is proposed vs the size of the requested lease and did not think that it would have removed unreasonable portion of the pond from recreation. granted there is apparently a lot of water skiing, sailing, kayaking and fly fishing in the cove but the waters of the state are a public resource and as such all entities have rights. which brings me to my consistent bitch about aquaculture leases. the leases are considered on a instant basis. the crmc is supposed to be developing a Bay special area management plan which supposedly is to include addressing aquaculture. due to conflict of uses, this application being good example and the lack of crmc guidance on the issue, leasing has become a land grab like it is the wild west. if the state developed a mapping system indicating where aquaculture would be appropriate through a public review process where all stake holders were heard, a lot of the conflict would disappear and both recreational users and aquaculturist lives would be a lot easier. additionally the public notice process for aquaculture leases is terrible. if someone wants to construct an addition on their house which encroaches on their property setback, all the neighbors with 200′ have to be notified by registered mail. an aquaculture lease is advertised (only in the local newspaper – i believe). granted it is published on a web but who sits around browsing state web sites in their spare time. in some cases leases are being granted which usurp shore front property owners rights to install docks or moorings. in other cases leases with floating cages are being granted in Type I waters where the Red Book indicates that the visual aesthetics of the water is an important factor which is to be protected. so who determines that?
    a SAMP plan is needed for Bay aquaculture. one already exists for the coastal ponds and the approval process or lack there of is much smoother. i m not sure how this is going to end but it’s sin that the perry rasos of the world who are creating a national reputation (and sales) for RI oysters have to struggle to advance their businesses.