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  • 20 Apr 2016 3:01 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Underground storage tanks (USTs) containing petroleum and hazardous substances are ubiquitous. Accidental releases of these substances can present risks to local residents and the environment. The purpose of this paper is to develop monetized estimates of the benefits of preventing and cleaning up UST releases, as reflected in house values. We focus on 17 of the most high profile UST releases in the United States with release discovery and other milestone events occurring at different points between 1985 and 2013. These data are the broadest analyzed for property value impacts of UST releases, as previous hedonic studies of USTs focused only on a single county, city, or subset of counties within a state. We employ a two-step methodology in which (i) site] specific hedonic regressions are estimated using a difference-in-differences approach, and then (ii)an internal meta-analysis of the resulting estimates is conducted. The spatial and temporal variation among the 17 sites improves our identification of the treatment effects by reducing local idiosyncratic biases; thus providing greater confidence to a causal interpretation of the estimated average price effects. The results suggest significant heterogeneity in the price effects across sites, but on average reveal a 3% to 6% depreciation upon the discovery of a high profile release, and a similar appreciation after cleanup. These average effects diminish with distance, extending out to2 or 3km from the site.

    Click here to read the entire article.

  • 12 Apr 2016 8:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Sue Boyle
    BCONE Executive Director & Sr. Practice Leader: Environment at GEI Consultants

    What BCONE does really well is bring together experts from throughout the northeastern United States to share experiences about brownfield remediation and redevelopment laws, regulations, policies, successes, and obstacles.  You see this on display at the annual Northeast Sustainable Communities Workshop (NSWC) which consists of panels with participants from at least 3 states in the region comparing and contrasting programs and policies in their individual states.

    Earlier this week, BCONE Board members from CT, DE, NJ, NY and PA had a robust conversation over the course of less than 3 hours about the definition of brownfields in their states and what the term "underutilized" means.  The exchange, which was fascinating, was prompted by the public comment period on the regulations defining "underutilized" being re-proposed by the New York State (NYS) Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).  If you attended this year's NSCW Panel on Hot Topics in the States, you heard Jane O'Connell of NYSDEC discuss the definition.

    The representative from DE on the BCONE Board shared that NYS is not the only state struggling with the term. The State of Delaware has been struggling with the inclusion and meaning of "underutilized" as one of the conditions necessary to certify the site as a Delaware Brownfield, which will allow prospective purchasers liability relief for existing contamination and provide them with grant funds for investigation and potential remediation. 

    New Jersey informed the group that a brownfields is defined under NJ Brownfield and Contaminated Site Remediation Act (N.J.S.A. 58:10B-23.d) as:  "any former or current commercial or industrial site that is currently vacant or underutilized and on which there has been, or there is suspected to have been, a discharge of a contaminant."  This allows the local municipality, if it chooses, to define underutilized via its Master Plan, although he wasn't aware of any municipality that has defined "underutilized" (some  have defined vacant).  

    CT joined the discussion with information from Section 32-760 of Connecticut's General Statutes, which  defines a brownfield as "any abandoned or underutilized site where redevelopment, reuse or expansion has not occurred due to the presence or potential presence of pollution in the buildings, soil or groundwater that requires investigation or remediation before or in conjunction with the redevelopment, reuse or expansion of the property." CT does not link the definition to future plans and  interprets "underutilized" fairly broadly.

    PA then let us know that the Commonwealth has not defined "brownfields" by statute or regulation.  PA generally assumes that any property which is (or may be) contaminated is a brownfield regardless of its current or prior use land use (industrial, commercial or residential) or current operational status (active, underutilized or abandoned).   

    After this healthy exchange of information, one of NYS's representatives on the BCONE Board summed  things up by saying: "And therein lies the problem. Most state brownfield programs do not define underutilized."  The term's meaning is often borrowed from other statutes and programs. The proposed NYSDEC definition can be viewed as trying to adopt an unnaturally narrow definition that is not really linked to current conditions at a site but future use.

    If this exchange and the topic interests you, go to  http://brownfieldcoalitionne.org/news/3941330 for a copy of the comments on the NYSDEC definition submitted by BCONE.

    Do YOU have a topic for which you'd like to get a multi-state perspective in real time?  If you do, send it to BCONE via sboyle@geiconsultants.com and we'll circulate it among the Board members and eblast out the answers provided. 

  • 11 Apr 2016 11:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Brownfield Coalition of the Northeast’s (BCONE) mission and objective is to provide education on the benefits of brownfield remediation and sustainable redevelopment and to work with member states and brownfield stakeholders in the northeast, including New York State and New York City, to facilitate brownfield cleanups within member states. BCONE members have extensive experience in the brownfield remediation and redevelopment process and include state regulatory agencies and brownfield practitioners in the fields of environmental remediation, land use consulting, real estate, law, land development, and green jobs training programs that supply well-trained, accredited, and certified entry-level technicians for a variety of brownfield and green energy jobs.

    We welcome this opportunity to comment on the revised definition of "underutilized" as proposed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). As a 501 (c)(6) organization with members who are involved in the development of brownfield sites in New York City and New York State, BCONE appreciates the opportunity to comment on NYSDEC's proposal.

    BCONE believes  the revised definition improves on  NYSDEC's earlier proposal, but is still restrictive and will serve to prevent many sites which are truly underutilized in any normal sense of the term, from qualifying for tangible property credits under the 2015 Brownfield Cleanup Act Amendments.

    Steve Jaffe
    President

    Additional Information for BCONE Members on "Underutilized"

    Here is a paper on the topic: http://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/26726/59759354-MIT.pdf?sequence=2

    “Underutilized land is a cloudy and somewhat elusive concept, meaning different things to different people. For some, it is simply vacant land, a seemingly basic term until you scratch beneath the surface. Indeed, vacant land can be a multitude of things from beaches, wetlands, community gardens, parks, and farmland to parking lots, abandoned buildings, empty lots and inactive industrial sites, just to name a handful of possibilities. For others, the notion of underutilized real estate extends even further beyond vacant land to encompass all properties that can be put to a higher and better use, whether it is from a financial, community, social and/or economic standpoint. Underutilized land can be a parking lot that would better serve the community as a grocery store, a use that would reduce negative externalities to the community and/or a property that brings in more income to its owner. It is even more subjective and difficult to define

    Real estate appraisal and development professionals fundamentally center on the financial concept of the “highest and best use” of a property as the use that maximizes its profit-making capacity. Highest and best use is “the legally permissible and physically possible use that generates the highest residual income to the property over a reasonable period of time.”  Hence, any real estate that is not the highest and best use qualifies as underutilized.

    The planning profession looks not only to evaluate the general financial condition of the parcel itself, but also to the externalities imposed upon the neighborhood in determining the underutilization of parcels. Many of these impacts are difficult to quantify or standardize as the focus is beyond the property and may be subjective to the neighborhood. For example, just a few of the elements that planners look to evaluate may include a site’s sense of place, the perception of safety and economic well-being offered, the impact on the sense of community and fit within the existing urban context, all of which are very hard to assign consistent values to. Even some of the more quantitatively-oriented effects such as a parcel’s influence on neighboring property values, job creation and its economic multiplier effect can be quite challenging to figure.

    GSA has their own definition – but it is very specific to GSA -- it defines underutilized as “an entire property or portion of a property that is used only at irregular periods or intermittently by the accountable agency or property that is being used for the agency’s current program purposes that can be satisfied with only a portion of the property.””

  • 08 Apr 2016 12:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by James Fink, Buffalo Business First (NY)

    The team behind the Queen City Landing project has filed an application with state Department of Environmental Conservation seeking approval to have the Fuhrmann Boulevard site of the proposed $60 million project included in the Brownfield Cleanup Program.

    The application was expected.

    If approved, it would open the door for some tax breaks and incentives for the project.

    The filing is one of many pre-development steps that the Queen City Landing team must undertake.


    For the entire article, see
    http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/news/2016/04/07/queen-city-landing-files-application-for.html
  • 06 Apr 2016 3:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Geoffrey R Forrest PG CPEng LSRP, Dresdner Robin

    Highlights

    The Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center has been the recipient of numerous community and Agency awards since its opening in October 2014. The project has successfully incorporated many desirous environmental, community, sustainability and energy efficient features and these components have been locally and nationally recognized by the following awards:

    • New Jersey Future Smart Growth Award (2014)
    • ULI Willard G. “Bill” Rouse III Awards for Excellence (2015 Finalist)
    • New Jersey Governor’s Conference Award for Leading Public Private Economic Development Partnership (2015)
    • USEPA Region 2 Phoenix Award [Brownfield Redevelopment] (2015)

    Background

    The Salvation Army Kroc Corps Community Center of Camden, NJ opened in October 2014 in a city that is perhaps best known for its struggles with violent crime and urban decay. Approximately 45% of families in Camden live below the poverty line, and the unemployment rate as of August 2013 was 16.6%, nearly double the national average. Some of the problems of concentrated neighborhood poverty often include high unemployment rates, rampant crime, health disparities, inadequate early care and education, struggling schools, and disinvestment. Though poverty often spans generations, the creation of a safe gathering place in the community for learning, exercising, worship, and community-building, can provide “a beacon of hope and an agent of change”.

    Conception

    In January 2004, The Salvation Army USA announced that it would be receiving nearly $1.6 billion from the estate of Mrs. Joan Kroc, (whose husband founded McDonald’s), to establish community centers similar to the one Mrs. Kroc established in San Diego. Following a competitive, nationwide-wide proposal process, The Salvation Army regional office in the City of Camden received an award of $59 million of funding. By forging new relationships in the community and partnering with corporate sponsors and political leaders, The Salvation Army was able to secure an additional $31 million to complete the project.

    Camden officials and The Salvation Army representatives chose to locate the community center on a portion of the former Harrison Avenue Landfill site at the confluence of the Delaware and Cooper rivers in the Cramer Hill section of the city. This site was chosen in particular because it was large enough to accommodate the project, was owned by the Camden Redevelopment Agency, and was located along bus routes and a proposed rail station allowing for easy access. The location is also in close proximity to the 12,000 children who reside in Cramer Hill and North Camden.

    Before Remediation (January 2012)


    Environmental Remediation

    The Harrison Avenue Landfill is a former 85-acre landfill that was owned and operated by the City of Camden from 1952 to 1971. The landfill,which is now owned by the CRA, is located on the northwest corner of Harrison Avenue and East State Street in the Cramer Hill neighborhood. The landfill is located within the Cramer Hill Brownfield Development Area, which is a voluntary designation between local stakeholders, city officials and NJDEP to expedite the reuse of brownfield sites that border a 2-mile stretch of the Delaware River.

    The reclamation of the 24-acre portion of the landfill into the Kroc Center was made possible after several phases of remediation. In September 2008, NJDEP completed a $4.1 million publicly-funded cleanup which removed approximately 14,000 tons of industrial waste materials placed under Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in a one-half acre area of the southeastern portion of the landfill where the Kroc Center was originally planned. Beginning December 2010 until May 2011, the relocated Kroc Center site was prepared for remediation and received 221,000 cubic yards of Delaware River channel material (“clean fill”) from the Palmyra Nature Cove for use as building foundation and capping of landscaped areas. From December 2011 until February 20 13, MSW was relocated away from the building footprint area and the capping material from Palmyra was placed under the building foundation and over the Kroc campus landscaped areas where the MSW was relocated. From February 2013, most of the activity at the site involved construction–related activities with the foundation of the building being poured and steel framing erected. The remaining remediation work, surficial landscaping and final top cover, was completed before the Kroc Center opened in October 2014.

    By initiating the remediation of the Harrison Avenue Landfill, the development of the Kroc center enhanced nearly 100 acres of vital, waterfront land. Additionally, the RJKCCC project includes open spaces with ball fields, walking paths and connections to the future waterfront nature trails. Diverting roof stormwater to existing wetlands adjacent to the project site is designed to enhance them by keeping them recharged. A 300-foot buffer to the river has been kept in tack for Bald Eagle foraging.

    After Completion (October 2014)


    RJKCCC  Facility Details

    The Center itself is 120,000 square feet, nearly 3 football fields in length, and provides recreational, health, educational, cultural, family and spiritual programming for area residents. It also serves as the hub for The Salvation Army services in the tri-county region. The amenity-laden facility includes both indoor and outdoor recreational spaces and the facility serves as many as 360,000 members and visitors per year.

    The indoor program is divided into three areas meant to serve the Mind, Body and Spirit. The Fitness space includes and 11,000 square foot gymnasium with spectator seating, an aquatic center with 8-lane competition pool and an associated indoor water park, an exercise center with dance studios, a thirty feet high rock climbing wall and comprehensive locker room spaces with showers and dressing rooms. There are social gathering places for teens and youths, a senior center, drop-in babysitting, a 200 seat performing arts center, and a 250 seat chapel. Available social services will include a family life and personal development center, classrooms, art room, computer lab, music room, library learning center, a commercial kitchen, an early childhood education center servicing 90 preschool children and a health clinic run by Cooper Hospital. All of these are separate spaces connected via an 8,000 square feet indoor “Town Plaza” gathering space and café, situated beneath a spectacular glass skylight.

    While The Salvation Army is not proceeding with a LEED application, the project has been designed with abundant sustainability elements, enough to achieve a Gold Rating should they so desire. Sustainable features include brownfield redevelopment, aquifer recharging with constructed wetlands and bio-swales, daylighting internal spaces, regional available materials, white roofing to reduce heat island effect, high-efficiency pool filtration systems that reduce annual water and energy consumption, Energy Recovery HVAC systems, recycled content in building materials, efficient lighting, waste steam separation, and recycling.

  • 30 Mar 2016 11:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Jimmy LawtonNorth Country Now (NY)

    After years of work, community meetings, and studies, Ogdensburg has finished Phase 2 of its Brownfield Opportunity Area Program.

    City planner Andrea Smith said the completion of nomination study is major step for the city, which applied for BOA funding in 2009. She said the brownfield projects that it encompasses date back into the 1990s.

    Smith said the city received a $355,000 grant in 2010 with a 10 percent local match to create a plan that could be used to develop the city’s brown properties.

    Smith says this step allows the city to apply for the official designation, which opens the door to a wider range of incentives and funding opportunities for the properties located within the BOA.


    For the entire article, see

    http://northcountrynow.com/news/ogdensburg-takes-major-step-forward-brownfield-development-plans-0166987

  • 30 Mar 2016 11:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Ethan Fry, Valley Independent Sentinel (CT)

    The lower Naugatuck Valley is dotted with contaminated “brownfield” properties where environmental issues related to their previous uses have thrown question marks over redevelopment plans, caused hiccups to demolition, or stalled projects altogether.

    On Wednesday U.S. Senator Chris Murphy visited a similar site - the sprawling Ansonia Copper and Brass complex - to laud a new bill he says would help property owners and developers return such properties to productive reuse sooner.

    The city reached a deal with Ansonia Copper & Brass in August 2014 in which the company agreed to demolish about 30,000 square feet of buildings and was allowed to deduct the cost of the work against an outstanding tax bill of roughly $800,000. 

    Demolition began in December 2014. The city and the company are in talks to extend the deal to other parts of the 42-acre complex in the heart of the city’s downtown.

    For the entire article, see

    http://valley.newhavenindependent.org/archives/entry/sen._murphy_touts_brownfield_bill_in_ansonia/

  • 18 Mar 2016 3:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    WBTA radio (Batavia, NY)

    One of Batavia’s so-called brownfield sites is destined to be re-developed into 3-three-acres of luxury apartments, Class A office space, new light manufacturing space and a restaurant/brewery.

    The site is the former location of Santy’s Tire and Della Penna Construction on Ellicott Street.

    As we reported yesterday morning, Savarino Companies of Buffalo has been selected to re-develop the site.

    For the entire story, see

    http://www.wbta1490.com/LocalNews/tabid/115/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/7202/Batavia-Morning-News-Mar-17-2016.aspx

  • 18 Mar 2016 3:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Larry RobinsonWatertown Daily Times (NY)

    OGDENSBURG - The city has moved a step closer to its long-term goal of redeveloping hundreds of acres of once-contaminated property along the St. Lawrence and Oswegatchie rivers by completing the latest stage of the state’s Brownfield Opportunity Area program.

    The BOA program was created in 2003 to give municipalities access to state grants to plan and investigate the cleanup and redevelopment of abandoned industrial and commercial sites known as brownfields.

    In Ogdensburg, most of the municipality’s 330-acre brownfield area is located near the confluence of the St. Lawrence and Oswegatchie rivers. The sprawling tract of riverfront property contains 45 individual brownfield sites including residential, industrial, commercial and retail properties within the city limits.

    For the entire article, see

    http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/news05/ogdensburg-completes-latest-stage-of-brownfield-cleanup-program-20160316

  • 01 Mar 2016 10:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Cierra Johnson, WKBW TV-& News (Buffalo, NY)

    LACKAWANNA, N.Y.  - Wednesday night, those living in the city of Lackawanna were updated on a state funded project designed to revitalize the now desolate area were Bethlehem steel once stood.

    The meeting was the first in a series of informational gatherings addressing future development of the city’s first ward - specifically the areas near Ridge road, Route five and the waterfront.

    The first portion of the informational broke down the process the state DEC is using to select, clean and develop underutilized, vacant or brownfield sites.

    For the entire story, see

    http://www.wkbw.com/news/neighbors-in-lackawanna-hear-update-on-brownfield-cleanup

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