Sen. Tommy Norment's so-called "oyster bill" is headed for a floor vote, despite the fact that York County is "offended" by even a watered-down version of the original. Walt Zaremba of York's Board of Supervisors said SB1190 - submitted by Norment on behalf of Greg Garrett, a wealthy York resident - still circumvents local authority.I confess, I hadn't heard of this before. I'm not quite sure how I come down on this. Clearly, this was a special interest law, drafted to benefit a particular person, and yet, it seems likely to make entry into oyster aquaculture easier for a large number of people, those with agricultural land bordering the bay. I think increased oyster aquaculture is generally a good thing, as it will take pressure off the "wild" oysters in the bay, by providing another source.
The back story on the bill: Garrett wants to establish an oyster farm at his waterfront property, an operation that could be one of the largest of its kind in the state. After neighbors objected, the county's planning commission gave the project thumbs down. Garrett went to Norment, who wrote a bill that would place aquaculture under the Right to Farm Act, a move that could have widespread implications for shoreline property.
The latest version of Norment's bill would do the same but limits aquaculture to piers attached to land with agricultural zoning.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Virginia Bill Equates Oyster Aquaculture with Farming
Modified 'oyster bill' advances over York County objections