, Salem, MA

Local News

July 26, 2013

Conditions set for power plant

Salem: Planning Board lists requirements for redevelopment

Plans to redevelop the Salem Harbor Station power plant cleared a major hurdle last night as the Planning Board approved a lengthy, detailed list of conditions for the project.

The board’s unanimous, 9-0 vote, taken at the end of a three-hour, well-attended session, was met with applause.

Salem Harbor Station will cease operation in June 2014. New Jersey-based Footprint Power has filed plans to build a natural-gas power plant, which is slated to open in June 2016.

The 62-acre site is a deep-water port next to the city’s ferry landing; it has been a coal-burning power plant since the 1950s.

Last night’s Planning Board meeting was the culmination of numerous public hearings held on the proposed power plant redevelopment. Board Member Tim Ready noted that many of the conditions approved last night were born out of residents’ comments and suggestions at previous public meetings.

The bulk of last night’s session was spent combing through a lengthy, meticulous list of conditions — everything from requiring that construction vehicles be hosed down before leaving the property (to minimize dust) to setting up several points-of-contact for residents to air concerns and comments during construction.

Footprint will be required to make plans for the project’s noise impact, stormwater and soil management, emergency-vehicle access, a designated truck route for construction deliveries, site security, lighting and a slate of other aspects.

The city has asked that a 6-foot-high steel fence be erected around the property during construction. At the urging of Planning Board Member Kirt Rieder, the fence will need to be a fine mesh, which makes it unable to be climbed.

Also among the conditions is the requirement that local fire and police conduct an emergency drill at the site before it opens and once a year after it opens.

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