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February 13, 2012 | last updated February 13, 2012 11:11 am

Questions raised over proposed tropical fish facility

A local businessman's proposal to raise tropical fish and process mussels in Augusta has raised the concern of residents and some city councilors, some of whom worry about the odor such a facility would create.

Joseph Sutton, co-owner of classified publication Uncle Henry's, last month proposed the aquaculture facility on land behind the publication's headquarters. The proposal requires a zoning change from the city, but some councilors and residents recently spoke out against allowing the facility, citing potential impacts to nearby property values and the unknown factors of such an operation, according to the Kennebec Journal. Councilors asked the planning board to issue a recommendation on aquaculture operations. The planning board's recommendations were to allow aquaculture as a conditional use in areas where agriculture is already allowed, as well as to change the zoning of the Uncle Henry's property from residential to mixed-use, which would also allow aquaculture. Other councilors promoted a business-friendly mindset, citing the potential of 16 new jobs with the proposed facility.

Sutton has not yet submitted an application for the project and has not attended the city's meetings. Mayor William Stokes said the city should request more information about the project and encourage Sutton to come to a meeting to explain the plan.

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