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Turbine opponents file Open Meeting Law complaint

FAIRHAVEN – Opponents of the Fairhaven wind turbines have filed a complaint with the state Attorney General’s Office, charging Fairhaven selectmen with violating the state’s Open Meeting Law in their discussions about the controversial project.

Selectmen Chairman Michael Silvia rejected the allegations, saying the complaint has no merit.

The complainants allege that police officers prevented some people from entering a meeting because the room was full but say they have video showing empty seats.

“I feel we have answered all of the accusations. The police chief interviewed the four officers and they all said it never happened,” Silvia said.

In addition, on the date referenced in the complaint, selectmen did not meet, according to Silvia. “I think they are confusing it with another board,” he said.

The town also disputed claims that the times and agendas for board meetings were not made public.

The complaint process has been very confusing to everyone, according to Ken Pottel, a leading member of Windwise, the group that opposes the turbines.

“It’s certainly not what I’d call streamlined,” he said.

The Attorney General’s Office recently contacted the group, allowing it more time to respond to the town’s rebuttal to its filing.

“What happened was we filed our complaint and the selectmen responded to the attorney general,” Pottel said. “But the Attorney Ggeneral’s office never sent us a copy of the town’s response like they should have. So now they are extending the deadline to allow us to respond.”

The original deadline was March 12 but Pottel said that would now be extended, since the mistake lay with the Attorney General’s Office. “They are going to let us know the new date,” he said Thursday evening.