Yonkers eyes moratoriums on self-storage, battery projects 

Mayor supports pausing developments

Yonkers Eyeing Moratoriums on Self-Storage, Battery Projects
Mayor Mike Spano (City of Yonkers, Getty)

The mayor of Yonkers wants to hit pause on the development of battery storage facilities and self-storage.

Mayor Mike Spano asked the city council to enact moratoriums on construction approvals and openings for both types of properties, the Westfair Business Journal reported. Spano said the measures would provide time to look at the economic and public health impacts of such facilities.

The moratorium on self-storage projects would last for eight months, preventing more from coming online in a city that has slightly more than a dozen of them. Among the objections are that self-storage properties contribute less property and sales tax revenue than other commercial uses.

The idea of pausing self-storage development hasn’t had much traction nationally since demand for the facilities grew during the pandemic, but local municipalities did place moratoriums on the sector before that, according to the Wall Street Journal. Many were concerned that self-storage produces few jobs.

The Yonkers moratorium would apply to electric substations using lithium-ion units, often known as Battery Energy Storage Systems, and last for six months. Opposition to these energy storage systems has increased in recent years, including in parts of New York. It generally centers on fear of fires.

The Yonkers proposal could be a response to a proposal brought by Saw Mill River Energy Storage 1, LLC, an apparent affiliate of New Leaf Energy. Next week, the firm is set to present an application to build an energy storage system on Saw Mill River Road, which would support battery storage units built by Tesla.

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The system would not take up all of the site, as a section would be earmarked for a future warehouse development by another company.

Local residents’ concerns about battery storage systems include health and environmental impacts. But they are seen as important to reducing emissions, as they can store energy from solar farms and other clean-power sources for later use, allowing for the retirement of dirty “peaker” plants.

Power generated from the Yonkers facility would be sold to consumers through the New York State Community Distributed Generation Program, which allows customers to offset energy use with solar power.

The last scheduled meeting of the Yonkers City Council before the start of the summer is June 25.

Holden Walter-Warner

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