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Moon Island turbine hearing draws a crowd  

Credit:  By Robert Knox, Globe Correspondent, www.boston.com 16 February 2012 ~~

The Quincy Planning Board will continue its hearing next month on a joint Boston-Quincy proposal to build a utility-size wind turbine on Quincy’s Moon Island, after a crowd double the meeting room’s capacity forced the original hearing’s suspension last week.

About 100 people, most of them from the Squantum neighborhood, turned out for the hearing Feb. 8 on the 397-foot structure proposed for the harbor island. The island officially lies in Quincy but Boston owns its land. The hearing was suspended about an hour into the session when City Councilor Brian McNamee, who represents Squantum, said the City Hall meeting room was uncomfortably crowded. Most people were standing, some couldn’t hear, and some couldn’t see the visual presentation well.

The meeting will reconvene on March 7 at 7 p.m. in the Quincy North High School auditorium, officials said Tuesday. The city will also hold a separate information meeting to give residents more opportunity to ask questions on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Kennedy Center senior center at 440 East Squantum St.

At the abbreviated hearing, Boston’s representatives spoke in favor of the project. The city’s chief of environment and energy, Jim Hunt, praised the “spirit of partnership’’ between the two cities represented by the project and cited Boston’s efforts to promote renewable energy and combat global warming. Engineer Stephen Wiehe displayed a diagram of flight paths over Boston Harbor showing that only narrow ranges of air space were available in which to build a wind turbine. Moon Island was the only harbor island that would work, he said.

But the size of the turnout suggested that many Squantum residents are concerned about the turbine, even though it would be located almost a mile from the nearest home. Some questioned the accuracy of pictures created by engineers to offer an idea of how large the turbine would appear from various points.

Quincy officials said residents would have the opportunity to ask all their questions and receive answers when the hearing continued.

Source:  By Robert Knox, Globe Correspondent, www.boston.com 16 February 2012

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