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Huge crowd delays Quincy meeting on Moon Island turbine

QUINCY – An overwhelming turnout at a public hearing on Boston’s proposal to build a 400-foot wind turbine on Moon Island forced the hearing’s postponement until next month.

The planning board voted to continue Wednesday’s meeting after about 100 people packed a city hall conference room. Dozens had to stand and several asked for louder microphones and better views of presentations.

The meeting probably will resume March 7. The venue hasn’t been determined.

The room was occupied mostly by Squantum residents concerned about construction truck traffic the project would cause, and by a wind turbine’s effect on property values and health.

Unsigned fliers from opponents of the project were dropped and mailed in Squantum over the weekend urging people to “PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY VALUE” and warning about ill health effects turbines allegedly can cause.

One resident said he was concerned about “pressure pulsations” and “inaudible low-frequency” sounds.

“To me, it’s just not worth it if there’s any potential for negative effects,” Bayside Road resident Brian Kerkins said.

Christopher Walker, spokesman for Mayor Thomas Koch, said some of the fliers appeared to be industry-funded and mailed from well outside Quincy, noting one flier urges people to contact Koch through a phone number with a 413 area code.

“The community’s going to decide whether we move forward,” Walker said.

Boston is working with Quincy to finance the turbine construction and to share revenue from selling its power. Terms of the inter-city agreement, two years in the works, have not been completed. Moon Island is in Quincy but owned by Boston.

Jim Hunt, Boston’s chief of environment and energy, said studies show Moon Island, which hosts a Boston police gun training range that Squantum residents have long opposed, is “perhaps one of the best sites in the region for a community-based wind project.”

Stephen Wiehe, an engineer hired by Boston, said Moon Island is the only Harbor Island that wouldn’t interfere with a flight path and would meet Federal Aviation Administration standards.

Wiehe said the turbine would be about 5,000 feet from the nearest Squantum home.

Still, Margaret Ronan said she’s concerned the value of her recently purchased home on Essex Street will take a hit if the turbine is built.

“It’s just ugly, regardless of anything else,” she said of the turbine. “I think the real estate values are definitely going to to be affected.”

Wednesday’s meeting also drew people who were in favor and neutral on the proposal.

“I have to hear more about it,” Squantum resident Art Erickson said as he left the meeting.