One of the many things that make people cynical about government is when one arm does not
know what the other is doing. Unfortunately, this has become all too common with current Town
Hall operations and it’s one of reasons why I am running for Huntington councilman.
Here is a case in point: Earlier last week, Newsday reported that the Town will hold a public
hearing on Sept. 12 th to consider enacting a six-month moratorium on the issuance of
permits and approvals for battery energy storage systems. A Town Board resolution scheduling
the public hearing was proposed two weeks after I urged the Town Board to consider enacting
such a moratorium.
Town officials were quoted as stating that there are no proposals pending
for a battery energy storage facility in the Town.
Had the quoted Town officials checked the agenda of its Zoning Board Appeals or read recent
editions of The Observer or visited the HuntingtonNow website, they would have realized that
an out-of-town company appeared before the Zoning Board on July 13 seeking approvals for a
battery energy storage facility on Pulaski Road in East Northport.
As a refresher, Key Capture Energy, an Albany-based company, is seeking variances and a
special use permit to construct a lithium battery energy storage facility on a four-acre piece of
residentially-zoned property at the intersection of Pulaski and Deposit roads. The company’s
plan calls for the clear-cutting of the four acres and constructing a facility that would house more
than 60 lithium batteries to store electricity from a neighboring LIPA substation.
So there is at least one pending application – an application that should be rejected based on the
close proximity to residential homes.
But the ignorance gets better.
In the same story, Town officials stated that Huntington “has no town code that applies to battery
energy storage systems.”
The Town Board in October 2020 amended the Town Code by adding specific language on the
siting, construction and decommissioning of battery energy storage facilities (198-68.3). In fact,
Supervisor Ed Smyth and Councilman Eugene Cook correctly voted in favor of this code change.
To make matters worse, this section of the code (198-68.3) is actually referenced in the
resolution scheduling the public hearing on the moratorium.
When Key Capture Energy appeared before the Zoning Board on July 13th , this amended code
was not applied to the Pulaski Road application. It was never discussed nor mentioned. Why not?
The amended code prohibits the siting of a battery storage facility on residentially-zoned
property. The only way this could be approved is with a change of zone strictly authorized by the
Town Board. And it shouldn’t.