Public Hearings - CHR 3-2009 Fish and Seafood Operations

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PUBLIC HEARING - June 16, 2009

CHR 3-2009 Fish and Seafood Operations


June 16, 2009

A public hearing was held today at 9:30 a.m. on Bill No. 3-2009 in the County Commissioners’ Hearing Room, County Government Center, Chestertown, Maryland, at the request of the Kent County Planning Commission, which is an Act to add new Chapter 80 to the Code of Public Local Laws of Kent County, titled “Fish and Seafood Operations” to conserve, protect, and encourage the development of seafood operations and limit the loss of the County’s fishing and seafood operations by limiting the circumstances under which commercial seafood and fishing operations that adhere to normally accepted practices may be considered a nuisance or trespass.

County Commissioners Roy Crow, Ronald Fithian, and William Pickrum, were in attendance as well as Susanne Hayman, County Administrator, Gail Owings, Director of Planning, two members of the media and three interested persons.

Commissioner Crow read the Notice of Public Hearing into the record.

Ethel Clark, representing Clark’s Seafood, questioned whether there would be fees assessed for the proposed Seafood Resolution Board. Mrs. Owings stated that there is currently no fee schedule established for the board. It is hoped that the Seafood Resolution Board will not have reason to meet. For comparison, she noted that the Agricultural Resolution Board has only met once since it was established three years ago and that meeting was for the purpose of electing their chairman. It is hoped that any pursuit of fish and seafood operation issues will be brought before the Seafood Resolution Board for determination rather than taken to court. Mrs. Clark stated that the Seafood Resolution Board should not be composed of individuals who have seafood businesses or their relatives as they could be biased in one direction or the other. She questioned whether there would be fees paid to board members. Commissioner Crow informed that the board members would be paid as they meet at $25 per meeting ($30 for the Chairman.) Commissioner Fithian stated that the intention of the County is to have a balance of opinions that reflect the entire county and not just one group when boards and committees are developed. Commissioner Pickrum added that all county boards are established with the intention of keeping them well balanced.

Frank Hepbron requested that the Board not be established with all members who are against the seafood industry. Commissioner Fithian assured that any board established would be well balanced.

Mrs. Owings stated that the board would consist of two members with a seafood industry background, one member from the business community and two members at large.

Mrs. Clark expressed appreciation for the Commissioners looking into this aspect of protection for commercial waterman and the seafood business.

This hearing was taped for reference and adjourned at 9:40 a.m.

Written comments will be accepted until June 19, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. The third reading of this bill will be held on July 7, 2009.


Janice F. Fletcher
Executive Assistant

Roy W. Crow, President