Proposed amendments to the New York City Brownfield Incentive Grant Program rules
Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments
STATEMENT OF BASIS AND PURPOSE
The Office of Environmental Remediation (“Office” or “OER”) oversees the New York City Brownfield Incentive Grant ("BIG") Program. Through the BIG program, OER awards grants to support and advance brownfield projects across the city by making grants available to projects from the earliest stages of project development through project remediation.
OER was established by Local Law No. 27 of 2009, and Charter § 15(e)(5) authorizes its Director to administer financial incentive programs to promote the identification, investigation, remediation, and redevelopment of brownfields. Section 15(e)(6) authorizes the Director to promote community participation in these activities. Section 15(e)(18) authorizes the Director to promulgate rules in connection with such programs.
Since 2011, OER has provided over one hundred Brownfield Incentive Grants to for-profit and non-profit developers undertaking cleanup and redevelopment of sites in the City voluntary cleanup program and to community based organizations seeking to apply for or advance their State-funded Brownfield Opportunity Area ("BOA") planning in neighborhoods across the city. Because of the rapid growth in the participation of developers in the City voluntary cleanup program, the entire original fund established to fund the BIG program has been earmarked. OER has sought and obtained new funding from the City for the BIG program to partially replenish the original fund.
The proposed rules would enable operation of the BIG program with reduced appropriations. In addition, OER is proposing additional changes to the BIG program to increase the program’s value for developers remediating brownfields across the city.
The proposed amendments:
· create new Brownfield Incentive Grants;
· make the first significant revisions to the list of eligible services and activities that are eligible for reimbursement with City brownfield grant funds;
· reduce the size of several City cleanup grants for future projects to reflect reduced funding;
· increase the amount of funding for BOA for community-based organizations;
· for the first time, restrict the city-wide reach of the BIG program;
· eliminate the environmental insurance grant and replace it with a new eligible service;
· consolidate certain technical services; and
· boost reimbursement for preparation of a site management plan
New Brownfield Incentive Grants
The proposed amendments would create four new Brownfield Incentive Grants to encourage the redevelopment of brownfields:
1) A Climate Change Resilience Bonus Cleanup Grant of up to $5,000 to accelerate cleanup of properties in coastal flood zones;
2) A Brownfield Green Job Training Bonus Cleanup Grant of up to $6,000 to encourage developers to hire participants in job training programs so they can acquire work experience at sites in the City brownfield cleanup program;
3) A City Pre-enrollment Grant of up $100,000 for site investigations and remedial planning activities at publicly owned sites and sites with environmental tax liens; and
4) A Green Property Certification Bonus Cleanup Grant of up to $1,000 to pay for a New York City green property certification plaque for sites that complete cleanups in the City voluntary cleanup program.
Addition of New Eligible Services
The proposed amendments would make significant revisions to the list of services and activities that are eligible for reimbursement with City brownfield grant funds. These changes are referenced in § 43-1419 and set forth in Schedule B. The new services include:
· the installation of soil vapor management systems;
· the cost of field oversight of remedial activities by qualified environmental professionals;
· the production of a remedial investigation report and a remedial action report,
· the reimbursement for an attorney’s due diligence on a property prior to its enrollment in the City voluntary cleanup program, and
· reimbursement for environmental insurance
Reduction in Size of Cleanup Grants
The proposed amendments would reduce the size of several City cleanup grants for future projects because of the reduced City appropriations:
· The proposed reductions would decrease the maximum grant awards by more than half for:
o the standard cleanup grant;
o the cleanup grant for preferred community development projects; and
o the track-one bonus cleanup grant.
· The E-designation and restrictive declaration remediation grants would be cut in half.
Increase in Funding of BOA Grants
The proposed amendments would increase from $25,000 to $50,000 the total amount of City funds that community-based organizations with BOA contracts could receive in the form of Local Match grants. These changes are set forth in § 43-1422 as well as Schedule A.
Restrictions on Size and Location of Eligible Sites
For the first time, the proposed amendments would restrict the city-wide reach of the BIG grant program. Projects larger than 100,000 square feet and projects at or south of 96th Street in Manhattan would be ineligible for City BIG funds if they had not enrolled in the City voluntary cleanup program by April 2013.
Amendments to Insurance Grant
The proposed amendments would eliminate the environmental insurance grant and replace it with a new eligible service that would reimburse parties for the premiums they paid for environmental insurance policies for projects that are enrolled in the City voluntary cleanup program.
Consolidation of Technical Services
Additional rule amendments would consolidate certain technical services, including:
· reimbursement for the preparation of a remedial investigation document, a new service, which would cover all remediation investigation activities and preparation of a remedial action work plan;
· reimbursement for the preparation of a remedial action report, a new service, which would cover all remedial action oversight activities and preparation of a remedial action report;
· simplified reimbursement for laboratory analysis of environmental samples collected in the field by the elimination of separate payments for analysis of individual metals, volatile and semi-volatile compounds, and replacing these with reimbursement for analysis of groups of similar compounds known as Target Analyte List metals, Target Compound List SVOCs, and Target Compound List VOCs.
Reimbursement for Site Management Plans
The proposed amendments would boost reimbursement for preparation of a site management plan from $2,500 to $7,500.