Town Board members have agreed to support an Ulster County Industrial Development Agency request to be the lead agency on state environmental quality reviews needed for the Zinc8 plan seeking $10 million in bonding to renovate a portion of iPark 87.
The decision would not affect the board’s ability to become the lead agency for environmental reviews of work that would need to be done for the planned battery manufacturing facility,
“The IDA has a requirement to follow SEQR in their bond issuance and the town Planning Board, when there is an application for an action, has an obligation to follow SEQR in relation to that action,” he said. “The action that (last week’s) resolution pertains to is only the bond issue, not the project as it relates to the building.”
Zinc8 has not submitted plans to the town for a project, but its application for bonding describes a multiphase project for the production of rechargeable batteries used in buildings ranging from housing to large-scale manufacturing plants.
Town attorney Jason Kovacs said that the agency could have moved forward with a lead agency declaration without Town Board support.
“As a courtesy, they are going back to the host community … asking us if we have any objection to their proposed action,” he said. “Since there’s no pending application right now … I don’t think we should have any issue with their bond resolution or their SEQR finding.”
The first phase at iPark 87 would use an acre, or about 43,560 square feet, of outdoor space secured by a chain link fence before beginning manufacturing in the first 150,000 square feet of indoor space at the complex. Ultimately, the company plans to lease a combined indoor and outdoor area of about 237,000 square feet.
Zinc8 in its “Phase 1b” would add another 50,000 to 150,000 square feet and increase its outdoor secured storage area to two acres within nine months of signing a lease. The company’s “Phase 2” would add 350,000 square feet by 2027, which officials wrote would be “subject to (an) additional IDA application.”
Industrial Development Agency officials conducted a public hearing on Jan. 31 that did not have any objections to the bonding. However, the anticipated Feb. 15 vote on approval was delayed because Zinc8 had not provided information that included the number of years for a payback period.
The project has the backing of state and federal officials, with U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer in August 2022 and Gov. Kathy Hochul in January 2023 announcing plans for Zinc8 to move to iPark 87. However, despite Zinc8’s use of those announcements in its own press releases, company President Ron MacDonald on Jan. 31 said that terms were still being negotiated and his company would “wait to see what the IDA rules” before making a final decision.