By: Sue Boyle, BCONE Executive Director and Senior Consultant, GEI Consultants, Inc.
If these topics interest you, go to the BCONE website soon https://www.brownfieldcoalitionne.org/events and watch your emails because BCONE is hosting a Roundtable on these subjects in mid-June, 2022 featuring speakers from the Environmental and Energy Section of the NYS Bar and NYSDEC.
The Brownfield Coalition of the Northeast (BCONE) joined its colleague NYC Brownfield Partnership in the NYS budget process for the first time in spring 2022. Thanks to a coalition of organizations including the New York League of Conservation Voters, Real Estate Board of New York, New York State Association for Affordable Housing, and Environmental and Energy Section of the NYS Bar and others, BCONE learned some of the nuances of the NYS process and some new phrases, too (“a big ugly,” for one). At the same time the budget discussions were happening, BCONE, the NYC Brownfield Partnership and others in the coalition were working on important comments to NYSDEC proposed Part 375 regulations. The Part 375 effort was led by NYC Brownfield Partnership Board Member, George Duke, Esq. Both efforts are crucial to brownfield efforts in New York City and to NY State in its entirety as they directly impact the viability of brownfield remediation, redevelopment, financing, and the continued implementation of beneficial policies and programs to safely and cost effectively revitalize brownfield properties into much needed safe, affordable housing.
Over fifty people attended the NYC Brownfield Partnership virtual presentation on April 27, 2022 for a briefing on all of these topics, as well as an additional update on the NYSDEC Part 360 regulations. Moderated by Larry Schnapf, Esq. of both BCONE and NYC Brownfield Partnership, speakers included Patrick McClellan of the League of Conservation Voters and Sarah Bangs of Bolton-St. Johns as well as NYCBP Board members George Duke, Esq. on the Part 375 effort and Kevin McCarty with the Part 360 “intel.”
- A major win for brownfields in NYS: The budget included the 10-year reauthorization of the Brownfield Cleanup Program and strengthened the Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA) Program by increasing the funding!
- Disappointingly, the budget also included a new $50,000 non-refundable application fee. BCONE and all of the coalition members remain concerned that the steep fee may deter smaller organizations, especially not-for-profit, MWBE, and upstate developers, from participating in the program.
- There is language regarding a hardship waiver for the fee.
- The budget legislation appears to have undermined the usefulness of BCP for affordable housing projects by excluding benefits from affordable housing project determination and revising the housing definition.
- BCONE signed on to the NYC Brownfield Partnership’s “lucky 13” collection of comments on the proposed Part 375 regulations, which cover implementation on the BCP: go here on the website to read the full text. A few major points: comments over BCP eligibility concerns (BCONE and the Partnership want broader eligibility than the regulations propose); concerns about proposal for off-site sampling by volunteers; and concerns about the proposed new definition of cover system requirements or site cover.
- Part 360: Keep an eye out for an Environmental Notice Bulletin on May 11, 2022 for revised Part 360 regulations and expect to see new categories for fill.
BCONE, the Partnership and the coalition will continue to work together to improve the BCP and its impacts on affordable housing. All of our efforts to date are documented on the BCONE website here.
Posted May 4, 2022