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State to decide future of Clayton wind project

Open on a foggy day in Clayton Town: A peaceful scene in contrast to the fiery debate that often surrounds the topic of wind energy.

And peaceful is how it will stay.

Iberdrola, the company planning a wind farm in Town of Clayton, said in a letter to town officials it has decided to proceed under Article X of the 2011 Power NY Act.

That means, instead of the wind company having to go through the town planning board and the often hostile public, a state board will decide if turbines can be put in Clayton and where they can be.

Clayton Town Supervisor Justin Taylor says all he can do is hope Albany considers Clayton when making the decision.

“We would certainly hope the state review panel, the Article X review panel, would use the Town of Clayton’s zoning ordinance that we have in place,” Taylor said.

Although the wind company’s move to go with Article X takes a lot of power of the Town of Clayton’s hands, Taylor says it might actually be a good thing.

“It’s going to hopefully allow communities to heal, because wind has been such a controversial issue,” he explained.

“In every community where there’s been a wind application, it has, in my opinion, damaged communities for generations,” he added.

That was the case in Cape Vincent, where anti- and pro- wind citizens clashed. Now the $300 million windmill project in the Cape will also be decided under Article X.

The Town of Clayton updated its zoning laws for wind energy early this year. Iberdrola has since had to scale down its project, but the planning board hasn’t received any of the details on the project.

It will now be at least 12-months before the state approves or denies Iberdrola’s request to put turbines in Clayton.

The wind energy company did not return our calls.