According to well-placed sources, PCB handler/processor TCI of NY filed an application last week with the Town of Ghent to rebuild its facility on Falls Industrial Park Road. The company’s application is said to have been accompanied by a check which has been placed in escrow by the Town.
However, the application reportedly has been returned to TCI as incomplete, as it did not contain all of the required information. Some town officials have informally signaled that TCI would need to go before its planning board if it wished to resume operations
As it happens, the Ghent Town Board has its regularly-scheduled meeting tonight (Thursday) at 7:30 pm at Town Hall, located at 2306 State Route 66.
To date, the Town has not cited TCI for any of many evident zoning code violations which have been brought to its attention. Activities such as fuel and explosives storage, handling of high-concentration PCBs, safety precautions and hazard prevention, and the introduction of multiple tenants into a building, are all clearly regulated by the Town’s zoning code and State fire safety regulations which are the Town’s obligation to enforce. Records obtained via FOIL and from private legal files held by neighbors indicate that many or most of the company’s uses of the site have never been the subject of a permitting review.
TCI left Ulster County in the mid-1980s after a fire similar to the one in Ghent led Newburgh fire and code enforcement officials, as well as State regulators, to cite the company for multiple violations. The company then attempted to set up shop again in Greene County, but were blocked among other things by stiff opposition from Athens firefighters, who noted that Athens did not have the equipment or resources to fight a major fire at such a facility. It was then that TCI came to Columbia County, representing themselves as an electronics recycler, and claiming that any transformers accepted onsite would be drained and contain at most scarce traces of PCBs.
In addition to having two fires at its plant in just the past year, TCI’s tenure in Ghent includes the death of a young worker on the job due to exposure to freon gas, and two failed applications (one to build an incinerator, the other to process household hazardous waste) which cost the Town enormous legal fees.