The North Carolina Brownfields Program, authorized by the state statute known as the Brownfields Property Reuse Act, provides a mechanism to treat prospective developers of brownfield sites differently than the parties responsible for contaminating them. Prospective developers negotiate a brownfields agreement with the program that defines activities needed to make the site suitable for reuse, rather than cleaning up the site to regulatory standards (which responsible parties are required to do).
June 25, 2013
USTs No Longer Carved Out of Brownfields Agreements
With the passage of House Bill 789 into Session Law 2013-108, the Brownfields Property Reuse Act of 1997 has been amended such that underground storage tanks (USTs) are no longer carved out of the definition of a brownfields property. The Brownfields Program has previously completed many brownfields agreements on properties where USTs are located, but under the previous statutory provisions, any UST issues were “carved out” of these brownfields agreements, necessitating that prospective developers work with both the Brownfields Program (to address brownfields issues) and the UST Section (to address UST issues). However, this statutory change now allows DENR to fold in all of the prospective developer’s requirements (both UST and non-UST issues) into a brownfields agreement.
March 11, 2013
Governor McCrory Announces Agreement Enabling Development of Region’s Largest Eco-Industrial Park
Raleigh, N.C. - Today, Governor Pat McCrory and Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary John Skvarla announced the signing of a brownfields agreement for ReVenture West. The agreement authorizes the development of the region’s largest eco-industrial park on a former 667-acre Superfund site in Charlotte.
February 7, 2013
Communities Interested in Applying Smart Growth Principles Can Apply for Technical Support -- U.S. EPA's Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program
The SGIA program is an annual, competitive solicitation open to state, local, regional, and tribal governments (and non-profits that have partnered with a governmental entity) that want to incorporate smart growth techniques into their future development. The U.S. EPA will select 3 or 4 communities this year to obtain free technical support of their smart growth efforts. See information and how to apply here… http://epa.gov/smartgrowth/sgia.htm, and see the U.S. EPA's request for letters of interest here… http://epa.gov/smartgrowth/pdf/sgia/sgia-2013-rfli.pdf
May 29, 2012
Program Fees Effective Immediately For New Applications.
Fees for development of a brownfield agreement were last changed in July 2006. For a few years, the Brownfields Program in the Division of Waste Management continued to receive level funding support from the U.S. EPA. However, in recent years, there have been considerable cuts to U.S. EPA brownfields funding to states, and that trend is likely to continue. The Brownfields Property Reuse Act requires recovery of costs and, since the percentage of the costs covered by the U.S. EPA funding provided to the program is decreasing, the cost portion of fees paid by prospective developers must increase in order to maintain the current level of service for projects seeking redevelopment, the resulting creation of jobs, and compliance with the statute. Analysis shows that these fees will increase from an average of $5,500 to $8,000 for a standard site.
Consistent with the statute, this fee is provided by prospective developers to the North Carolina Brownfields Program in two installments. At the beginning of the process, at the time the site is deemed eligible, there is an initial $2,000 statutory fee due. The remainder due is negotiated in the brownfields agreement, but the fee amount must defray all costs to the state (for both NCDENR and the North Carolina Department of Justice).
Analysis of funding totals from the U.S. EPA and fees indicates that, due to the decreased federal funding, this second installment cost average must increase to $6,000 in order to defray program costs consistent with the statutory requirement. This increase will result in a total fee of $8,000 for a standard project, subject to negotiation of a brownfields agreement. This announcement serves to notify all applicant prospective developers that this fee increase will apply to all projects entering the program after May 31, 2012.
Fees may be higher if a particular project requires legal review and negotiation through a Department of Justice attorney, as by statute, the Department of Justice’s expenses must also be defrayed. However, based on experience over the course of more than 200 completed agreements, program staff believe that the legal fee is entirely avoidable at most standard sites.
If the prospective developer enters the Redevelopment Now program, fees will remain the same as they are at present: $30,000, subject to the negotiated brownfields agreement, as these fees do not include any federal funding subsidy.
May 29, 2012
Commencement of the Ready-For-Reuse Agreement Program.
The North Carolina Brownfields Program has been piloting the preparation of brownfields agreements that aid the marketing of brownfields properties. In instances where an owner of property is not eligible for a brownfields agreement, the program will, in cooperation with that owner, develop a draft brownfields agreement, with the prospective developer listed in the agreement as “to be determined.” Such a “Ready-for-Reuse Brownfields Agreement” will provide the prospective purchaser a site that is ready to go, with a draft brownfields agreement prepared in advance and awaiting finalization that is consistent with the purchaser’s end use. This will aid the marketing of the property, and, therefore, its ultimate redevelopment. Through this “Ready for Reuse” type of agreement, the program hopes to encourage a new universe of brownfield properties that would otherwise remain abandoned or underused into redevelopment, creating jobs and opportunities while protecting public health and the environment.
As a result of future purchaser vetting, programmatic project restart costs, and post-agreement modification requirements, this type of project is of somewhat higher cost to the department. The program is prepared to provide such agreements with a cost recovery structure commensurate with the estimated required additional resources. Therefore, subject to the negotiated brownfields agreement, the department is setting the estimated standard ‘Ready-for-Reuse” fee, based on these costs, at $15,000 for such sites, payable in two installments: half upon receiving eligibility determination from the program, and half when the Ready-for-Reuse Brownfields Agreement is agreed to by the owner and DENR and is made ready for public comment.
The program reserves its statutory discretion to not proceed with a particular agreement of this type should it perceive such an agreement would run counter to statutory goals or has insufficient public benefit to warrant use of program resources. No fees are due if the department decides not to proceed with the applicant’s project due to such concerns.
Brownfields Program • Mail Service Center 1646, Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-1646 • (919) 707-8383