The City Council Thursday night agreed to take up the proposed wind turbine for Winter Island. It referred the project for review to its subcommittee on public health, safety and environment.
The city's Renewable Energy Task Force and the Park and Recreation Commission have held public hearings on the proposed wind turbine and the Winter Island Master Plan. At those hearings, there was strong support and opposition voiced about the proposed turbine.
Councilor at Large Joan Lovely said she had read the report by Meridian Associates on the wind turbine and admitted she needed to talk with experts to understand the complex issues involved in siting a turbine.
She said she wanted to talk with the manufacturers to determine the set backs required from a wind turbine for houses and buildings.
There was no date set for the subcommittee's meeting on the wind turbine.
Of the $56 million, 78 percent or about $45 million is being funded by the Massachusetts School Building Authority.
Superintendent Stephen Russell said the schools will now move to interviewing construction managers. He said he expects that construction will begin by late November or early December.
The Saltonstall School has already been vacated to allow for the renovations. Those renovations are expected to last a year. Students at Collins are being rotated in an eight-phase plan to allow for the renovations. That construction is expected to take up to two years, Russell said.
The council also approved spending $1.4 million to cap an old landfill under McGrath Park.
The council also agreed to consider taking back the authority to grant permits for outdoor seating at downtown restaurants and bars that blocks sidewalks.
That authority has been held by the Salem Redevelopment Authority. The SRA would retain that authority outside the downtown area.
After complaints about blocked sidewalks in front of the Tavern in the Square on Washington Street, the council is considering revising the ordinance to allow only the council to permit outdoor seating on downtown sidewalks.
Council members also discussed two businesses, an auto body repair shop on Franklin Street, and a gas station on North Street, that have been the subject of numerous complaints from neighbors. No action was taken.
Several councilors also discussed the need to have utility companies "stop pointing the finger at one another" and repair Bridge Street, which was described as “a disaster.”