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Oyster aquaculture proposed at East River Boat Yard

The Mathews County Board of Supervisors is looking at the county-owned East River Boat Yard in Bohannon as a possible site for an oyster aquaculture business.

The board voted Tuesday to initiate a rezoning of the parcel to waterfront business to accommodate the use. It is currently zoned waterfront residential.

The action came after Billy Hooper, owner of Williams Wharf Oyster Company, submitted a white paper to the board proposing that he be allowed to lease the property, which is located on the East River at the end of Mill Lane Road. Hooper said in the paper that the parcel has historically been a commercial site for offloading and processing oysters, that it is in a state of disrepair, and that it “has no discernable use in the near term.”

If he were allowed to lease the property, Hooper said he would develop the site for an oyster hatchery, use the property to extract his aquaculture product, and install a cold storage unit in the existing building. He said he would...

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