Belfast residents challenge city zoning changes that enabled Nordic Aquafarms

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Lawsuit seeks to reverse April zoning changes that paved way for the 40-acre inland salmon farm. However city attorney, Bill Kelly, called it a “typical not-in-my-backyard issue.”

According to the Republican Journal, two Belfast residents are challenging the city in court to undo zoning changes made earlier this year that cleared the way for the Nordic Aquafarm site in Maine, USA.

“Zoning” is the process of dividing land in a municipality into zones in which certain land uses are permitted or prohibited.

Donna Broderick and Ellie Daniels allege that city officials made procedural errors when they adopted zoning changes for the facility.

The neighbours want to sue the city to restart the process with the salmon farm in order to initiate the rezoning proposal.

Broderick and Daniels, who own a Perkins Road property bordering the 40 acres that Nordic Aquafarms proposes to develop, allege that the City Council took actions to “purposely avoid” citizen participation and Planning Board review in amending the comprehensive plan.

However, city attorney Bill Kelly called the lawsuit a “typical not-in-my-backyard issue” and said the city “went to great lengths to invite the public to comment,” including the publication of multiple notices and a mailing to neighbours. He added that the city received comments from 150 to 200 people.

Nordic Aquafarms, owner of land-based salmon farmer, Fredrikstad Seafood, hopes to start construction in 2019, with “first-fish” ready by 2020.