Yonkers mayor calls for moratorium on construction of self-storage and battery facilities

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New York Construction Report staff writer

Mayor Mike Spano is calling on Yonkers City Council to pass legislation that places moratoriums on approvals for construction and opening of additional self-storage and lithium-ion battery facilities.

Public hearings will be held on June 26 at 5:45 and 6 p.m. in the council chambers.

“Protecting a safe and healthy quality of life continues to be our number one priority in Yonkers,” Spano said. “These moratoriums would provide our city an opportunity to dig deeper into the potential economic and public health impacts these facilities have on our residents and businesses.”

A moratorium on battery energy storage systems (BESS), or lithium-ion battery storage facilities, is proposed for a six-month period. Concerns on how these facilities may impact surrounding properties, neighborhoods, environment and public health/safety requires city staff to conduct a thorough study, which is in accordance with the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act. Lithium-ion batteries contain flammable electrolytes, which can create unique hazards when the battery cell becomes compromised and enters thermal runaway. There are no BESS facilities currently located in the City of Yonkers.

“We need this moratorium on lithium-ion battery facilities to give us more time to determine their environmental impact,” commented Mayor Spano. “We’ve meticulously worked to put measures in place that guarantee smart and efficient development. It would be irresponsible to move forward with approvals of these type of facilities without conducting the necessary research to ensure the safety of their neighbors.”

The proposed eight-month moratorium would provide the time to delve into its zoning laws and land-use strategies to ensure they continue to align with the City’s economic objectives and community needs.

While the facilities contribute to property tax revenues, they do not contribute to the income tax revenues and their sales tax revenues are minimal.

“We know there is a need for them, but there is a proliferation of self-storage buildings within our city limits and this moratorium prevents Yonkers from becoming the storage facility capital of Westchester County,” the mayor said. “It gives us a chance to breathe and examine where these facilities are going and how it will impact our local economy.”

“I am hopeful the city council considers these very important measures before they recess for summer.”

A public hearing is required prior to the passage of the proposed general ordinances. The last meeting before the summer is scheduled for June 25 at Yonkers City Hall.

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