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Clayton council members defend town supervisor

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CLAYTON — Three Town Council members at a meeting Wednesday night defended Supervisor Justin A. Taylor, who had been accused by opponents of wind development of deceiving the public and secretly working with Iberdrola Renewables to assist the developer with the Horse Creek Wind Farm proposal.

Councilman George E. Kittle, who opposes the idea of wind farms in Clayton, said he believes a few individuals in the community have been deliberately disseminating inaccurate information — or “disinformation” as he put it — to attack Mr. Taylor.

“I think the supervisor, Justin, has always kept the public informed,” Mr. Kittle said.

Councilman Lance L. Peterson said he also wished the Iberdrola project had “died,” but if the developer chooses to seek the state’s approval through an Article X siting process, there’s nothing the town can do to stop that.

“Quite frankly, I feel well informed and I don’t believe the public has been deceived whatsoever,” Mr. Peterson said.

Mr. Kittle, Mr. Peterson and Robert W. Cantwell III — who had voted in favor of stringent local zoning rules for turbines in 2010, which Mr. Taylor opposed — said the board has four other members besides the supervisor to ensure the local government is operating properly.

“I can assure you that our supervisor is doing nothing underhanded. Even if he was — and he’s not — how do you possibly think he can slip it past this board?” Mr. Peterson asked. “One person does not run this town. Let there be no mistake.”

Councilman Christopher D. Matthews did not attend Wednesday’s meeting.

But Cindy L. Grant, a Clayton resident and outspoken opponent of wind development, said the supervisor “has not been telling the truth.”

“Justin has also asked legal questions of the developer and the wind lawyer about the intervenor funds and who Justin would choose for the local siting board member,” she said, referring to email conversations between Mr. Taylor and Jenny L. Briot, a senior business developer with Iberdrola, obtained through the Freedom of Information Law.

In a written statement, Mrs. Grant suggested Mr. Taylor is working for the wind developer.

“Justin, you should not even be discussing this with the developer, unless you work for them!!! Justin Taylor, who do you represent — the town of Clayton citizens or Iberdrola?” she wrote. “Justin Taylor has been meeting with Iberdrola, Jenny Briot, outside the public eye.”

Mr. Taylor said residents with questions should contact the town government directly.

“We are not a single-issue board. And right now, wind is not on our front burner,” he said.

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