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Moon Island turbine proposal inches along in Quincy

QUINCY – It’s shaping up to be a process that will move more slowly than a turbine blade on a windless day.

Nearly two years after Boston proposed building a 400-foot wind turbine on Moon Island, the first independent study of the plan was presented to Quincy’s planning board Wednesday.

After a brief presentation to the board on the review, Ward 6 City Councilor Brian McNamee said the discourse around the proposal “gingerly dances around some of the concern that I think the residents Squantum are going to have.”

“There was no mention of what we’re going to get from the City of Boston,” McNamee said. “It appears that the proposal at this point is good for Boston and bad for Quincy. We’ve essentially been a doormat for Boston in their utilization of Moon Island.”

Vehicles can only access Moon Island, which is in Quincy but owned by Boston, via local roads in Squantum. The traffic to the island, which has a Boston police shooting range, has long been a source of tension between the cities.

Both cities plan to split whatever revenue the turbine brings in by selling the power it creates.

The planning board members had the review, by the Plymouth firm Beals + Thomas, summarized to them at their meeting Wednesday, and voted to continue the discussion at their Feb. 8 meeting.

The review pointed out several potential issues with Boston’s proposal, including a lack of information about how much grading would be needed for an access road and tower foundation area. It also said a setback waiver on the southeast side is needed and and that an emergency services and traffic plan is lacking.

“I’d like to get any questions resolved,” Nicholas Verenis, Quincy’s economic planner, told the planning board.

Todd Isherwood, Boston’s project manager for energy efficiency and alternative energy, declined to comment after Wednesday’s meeting.

Planning board members Wednesday said they were concerned about noise and the accuracy of photo simulations of shadows the turbine would cast.

Sound levels would comply with Quincy and state Department of Environmental Protection standards, according to Boston’s proposal.

McNamee said the proposal is likely to only get real traction when thorny mitigation issues are broached.

These, he said, would include the percentage Quincy would get in a revenue split and possible closing of the gun range, whose hours were reduced in October by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.

“Everybody wants clean energy, but what are the costs?” McNamee said. “There are real environmental and aesthetic costs here. To put a structure the size of the (Boston) Custom House on top of Moon Island, a beautiful Harbor Island, it’s asking for quite a bit.”

The Moon Island proposal is among a slew of wind turbines either proposed or being built on the South Shore.

Five turbines have gone up in Kingston in the past four months, and pieces of a new turbine that will be built on the Driftway in Scituate are scheduled to arrive next week. Turbines are also being discussed in Weymouth, Norwell and Milton.