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  • 29 Nov 2018 9:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By David L. Shaw, Olean Times Herald(NY)

    The G. W. Lisk Company is applying to be added to the state’s brownfield cleanup program for environmental cleanup of its site.

    The company, established in 1910, is on 26 acres at 2 South St. in the village directly south of Clifton Springs Hospital. It produces solenoids, linear variable differential transformers and flame arrestors and has historically performed metal plating operations.

    As part of its plating operations, the company used tri-chloro-ethylene (TCE), cadmium, nickel, zinc and hexavalent chromium. Environmental tests performed in 2014 found the presence of chlorinated solvents in the groundwater along the property boundary with Clifton Springs Hospital.

    For the entire article, see


  • 29 Nov 2018 9:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Steve Dwyer

    Railfield redevelopment opportunities have been expanding more each decade, due mainly to the significant reduction of miles maintained by the consolidated U.S. rail system, which has decreased by at least 50%. In its wake is an extensive legacy of underutilized, contaminated, and sometimes abandoned rail properties.

    In the NYC metropolitan area, a railfield redevelopment is potentially in the works if it gets the green light from state regulators.

    With traces of mercury remaining in soil at the Inwood LIRR station (Nassau County)—contaminants borne by rectifiers used to power the rail line station until 1979—the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has been reviewing an application from a realty company, Coland Realty, that would incorporate a section of the Far Rockaway Long Island Railroad line, which incorporates the Inwood station, into the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program, according to a recent report in the Long Island Herald.

    The New York State Department of Conservation is investigating the site in relation to the Coland application submitted Oct. 10. The public comment period ended Nov. 9 and now the goal of the Brownfield Cleanup Program is to encourage private-sector cleanups and promote redevelopment through tax incentives.

    According to the DEC, the primary contaminant is mercury, which originated from the rectifiers that powered the Inwood station. “This type of contamination is something that is common at various LIRR owned properties,” said a DEC spokesman.

    If the stakeholders involved in this effort want to look for guidance on proceeding the right way, there are several resources to tap. For starters, EPA offers a site profile guide, entitled “Technical Approaches to Characterizing and Cleaning up Brownfields Sites: Railroad Yards,” to assist stakeholders in characterizing rail properties.

    And success stories are out there as well. In Cambridge and Somerville, Mass., for instance, a former rail freight yard owned by Guilford Transportation Industries was transformed into a 45-acre mixed-use development. Guilford initiated the development after declining freight traffic in Boston made the property redundant. The project included commercial and residential development with some of the property devoted to greenspace and a regional bicycle trail. Ultimately, the initiative integrated an underused industrial property to the communities around it.

    Determining if the site is eligible for the NYS cleanup program is the first step towards cleaning up the mercury. “If the application is deemed eligible, the DEC and the applicant will enter into a Brownfield Cleanup Agreement, which will provide for the investigation and cleanup of the site,” a DEC spokeswoman said. “Once the agreement is executed, the applicant will submit a work plan to investigate and clean up the site (as part of a Remedial Investigation Work Plan). The work plan will fully delineate the nature and extent of contamination at the site. Prior to the start of work at the site.”

    The stigma of potential redevelopments along railroad lines has typically been a bone of contention with local residents. One local resident expressed these concerns about the Inwood LIRR station situation by stating that “it’s pretty scary knowing it’s right here by the train tracks. I hope they take care of it quickly, I know being around mercury isn’t good for you.”

    The DEC and the state’s Department of Health was in the process of implementing measures to protect and minimize the effect the work has had—and will have—on local businesses, residents and commuters, including monitoring the air for dust vapors and odors.

    The advice to those involved would be to proceed prudently. Residual contamination including herbicides, petroleum products and byproducts, metals and creosote, is often present on these properties.

    Looking at the historical protocols, a majority of rail companies perform an environmental review on every property transaction as an evaluation process to determine if there are significant contamination concerns.

    Similar to other brownfields redevelopment projects, liability concerns about environmental contamination on the property are a common roadblock for the rail companies in addressing properties. Rail companies often recommend that local governments work with them and state environmental agencies on liability issues. Often, if contamination is found during the investigation process of the project, liability rests with the rail company, which creates a major disincentive for the rail companies to proceed.

    Rail companies have an interest in working with municipalities during the planning process of redevelopment of rail properties that have become obsolete, allowing the companies to provide early input into reuse options as they have valuable knowledge about potential contamination concerns. Rail companies recommend that local governments spend significant time exploring whether the end use is appropriate based on the cleanup level prior to planning redevelopment.

  • 13 Nov 2018 9:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Tyler Marko, Long Island Herald (NY)

    The New York Department of Environmental Conservation is reviewing an application from Coland Realty LLC that would incorporate a section of the Far Rockaway Long Island Railroad line that includes the Inwood station, into the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program.

    The New York State Department of Conservation is investigating the site. The program application was submitted on Oct. 10, and the public comment period ends on Nov. 9. The goal of the Brownfield Cleanup Program is to encourage private-sector cleanups and the promotion of redevelopment through tax incentives.

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    According to the DEC, the primary contaminant of concern is mercury, which originated from the rectifiers that were on Redfern Avenue at the Queens borders and powered the Inwood station until 1979. “This type of contamination is something that is common at various LIRR owned properties,” said DEC spokesman Bill Fonda.

    For the entire article, see


  • 31 Oct 2018 9:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    There will be about 29,000 tons of contaminated soil removed from the property to make it safe for construction.

    By Alex Costello, Long Beach Patch (NY)

    After many years of delay, the brownfield site on the southern tip of Harbor Isle is scheduled to be remediated.

    The former Cibro Petroleum site, located off Island Parkway South, will be cleaned by the Posillico Development Company, which is planning to build condos on the site.

    For the entire article, see


  • 26 Oct 2018 9:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Steve Dwyer

    It’s a discovery of the most unsavory kind, one that public officials often brace for. And it’s a dilemma that urban redevelopment stakeholders in New York City’s five boroughs should eternally be vigilant about due to the breadth and depth of brownfield assets.

    The unwanted discovery? Learning that you’re now dealing with a much larger portfolio of abandoned and contaminated properties—above and beyond what prevailing estimates had indicated from city survey reports.

    It’s a dilemma that can hopefully be mitigated by garnering access to New York State’s Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA) program, set up to promote revitalization efforts and crafting strategies for redevelopment.

    This subject has a nearby example as a lesson learned: In Brookhaven, N.Y. planning officials in late summer identified more than 633 potentially contaminated properties—more than double what they had anticipated—that are ripe for remediation efforts in the greater Bellport area, according to a September report in Newsday.

    Most of the brownfield parcels served as the sites of warehouses and auto and manufacturing businesses, where oils, liquids and antifreeze leak into soil and groundwater along Montauk Highway in North Bellport, Hagerman and East Patchogue, planning officials said.

    Initially, Brookhaven expected to survey 302 parcels of land for incidence of contamination. During a study, officials determined additional properties needed to be inspected, Brookhaven Town planner Joseph Sanzano told Newsday.

    Of the 633 identified properties, 24% are in developed commercial areas, 18% are in industrial areas, 10% are in residential communities and the remaining parcels are on vacant land, planning officials said.

    This area represents a large footprint: Brookhaven, the most populous of the 10 towns of Suffolk County, is the only community in the county that stretches from the North Shore to the South Shore of Long Island.

    When so many undisclosed and unexpected parcels are deemed to be potentially contaminated, heavy lifting commences. When 300 parcels originally thought to be surveyed doubles in size, communities brace for a higher level of liability and a robust investigation schedule must commence—Phases 1, 2 and 3. Brookhaven officials said perceived threats to soils and groundwater could deter potential developers from investing in “this residential, socio-economically challenged community,” according to the Newsday report.

    That’s what’s in store, but a little history of the area: The Greater Bellport Land Use Plan was adopted by Brookhaven officials in 2014, at which time officials applied for and were awarded about $300,000 in state grant money to conduct a study. Brookhaven was awarded the grant from the New York State’s Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA) program to promote revitalization efforts in the Bellport community. Strategies for redevelopment and the potential impacts of redevelopment were evaluated.

    Since the adoption of the community-based Greater Bellport Land Use Plan four years ago, the town has implemented many recommendations, including soliciting the BOA designation, addressing chaotic auto related uses, identifying brownfields, regulating zombie homes, adopting new zoning to define the hamlet centers, and monitoring compliance with all local, state, and federal environmental regulations in the hamlets of Bellport, Hagerman and East Patchogue.

    These area-wide initiatives in planning/remediation and implementation of these recommendations were shaped by the unique vision that was established for by community fathers.

    The BOA designation, like other state-wide and nationwide, provide the leverage to secure additional opportunities for grant funding for planning, infrastructure and other amenities.

    Community input was a key fulcrum of this effort. The town recognized the importance of community input towards transforming neighborhoods; thus, community members and stakeholders were asked to provide revitalization input through a community survey.

  • 10 Oct 2018 9:49 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Redevelopers can use everything from old government facilities to brownfield sites to capitalize on the need for last mile warehouses.

    by Joseph A. Panepinto Sr., National Real Estate Investor

    Amazon launched the age of e-commerce when it shipped its first bookout of a garage in 1995. Since that beginning, consumers have grown to embrace the ‘e-tail’ lifestyle. Millennials are now driving the demand for everything from toilet paper to make-up delivered to their doorstep. To accommodate this growth, e-retailers are snapping up industrial-use land and buildings as close as possible to the consumers they need to serve.

    Access to the ”last mile” of delivery in urban locations has become one of the most critical factors in site selection. Facilities must not only be the right size, they must also have access to a highway and/or waterway, appropriate zoning, an accessible employee base and be as close as possible to their customers.

    Traditionally, open plan, one-story buildings have been used as warehouses. Today, buildings of several forms can be utilized, including former big-box stores; industrial sites in various stages of remediation; under-used office space; and, in one instance in Chicago, an underutilized parking garage.

    For the entire article, see


  • 1 Oct 2018 6:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Steve Dwyer

    With a goal to reach 50% renewable energy by 2030, New York is beginning to see the light. It comes with the acknowledgement that solar-powered initiatives are an ideal way to offload the reliance on traditional candlepower in favor of a continually growing trend of solar.

    In late August, New York trotted out a new toolkit to drive solar on brownfields—the advent of which comes at a time when solar-powered installations are occurring at a rising clip each year. In NYC, much of that has occurred at the residential level, and it would be interesting to see if urban redevelopment stakeholders have watched how—on a much smaller scale—those investments have reaped positive dividends.

    The placement of solar arrays on brownfields perpetuates the entire spirit of brownfield development tenets that are always seeking to emphasize green building best-practices. Setting the tone for end uses are epitomized by the methods deployed by many brownfield environmental partners, who implement renewable components via green and sustainable cleanup strategies.

    Investing in solar can’t be executed blindly, so earlier this summer the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) released new guidance for municipalities developing solar projects on landfills or brownfields, to maximize expansion on underutilized land and the state’s efforts to increase renewable generation.

    In New York, new streamlined project reviews from the DEC along with NYSERDA’s guidelines are expected to supplement existing solar development incentives and boost installations.

    Those incentives will serve developers quite well: The leasing instructions and templates in the Municipal Solar Procurement Toolkit reflect a lower threshold of environmental review for projects on brownfields and landfills due to recent updates from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

    In June, the DEC adopted a rulemaking package to streamline the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) regulations, which doesn’t require contractors to make formal assessments of environmental impacts of solar projects on brownfields. As the first update to SEQR in more than two decades, the changes, including the brownfield component, will take effect January 1, 2019.

    Once the SEQR updates are in effect, commercial solar installers or contractors will be able to expedite a once arduous, protracted process. That’s because going forward they can dispense with the task of preparing formal assessments of environmental impacts for certain projects, such as adding solar to landfills and brownfields.

    In June, NYSERDA also unveiled higher incentives for solar projects on landfills and brownfields as part of a set of changes to Gov. Cuomo’s $1 billion solar incentive program called “NY-Sun Megawatt Block.” The guidelines were presented in late August and are intended to help communities facilitate leases on underutilized land for solar projects.

    NYSERDA’s kit has templates for towns to issue RFP’s and other guidance on site identification and considerations. In addition, NYSERDA is conducting a high-level study “to identify priority landfill and brownfield sites across the state,” a NYSERDA spokesperson told the publication Utility Dive.

    Utility Dive also reported that the toolkit is seen as an “excellent guide” to bring investments to the state, according to Dan Whitten, vice president of communications for the Solar Energy Industries Association.

    “It is always a positive when states and municipalities find creative ways to deploy solar energy so that everyone in the community can access it,” Whitten told Utility Dive.

    According to the toolkit, potential goals for a brownfield/landfill solar project range from bringing revenue to towns by leasing public land to providing greater access to solar power through a community solar project.

    It’s not certain if brownfields practitioners can learn anything about New York City-based and surrounding-area solar installations, seeing that it’s an apples and oranges comparison. That said, over the past couple years solar investments have been occurring to a large scale at the residential level.

    In the context of residential solar investments dating to 2016, the number of projects across the five boroughs rose to more than 5,300 from just 186 in 2011, according to state officials. At that time, there were another 1,900 in the pipeline. The solar boom two years ago was prompted by a 70% drop in installation costs, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, along with the streamlining of government approvals and incentives.

    Those lower solar cost trends continue to prevail in 2018, a positive sign for brownfield-level investments to spawn

    The New York Times reported in 2016 that most of the city’s existing solar projects were occurring in single-family houses on Staten Island, but townhouse owners in Brooklyn had jumped on board the opportunity as well—along with owners of apartment buildings in the Bronx and Queens.

    Two years ago, Gov. Cuomo had called for half of the state’s electricity needs to come from renewable resources by 2030, while Mayor de Blasio sought greenhouse gas emissions in the city to be slashed by 80% by 2050. To that end, Mayor de Blasio unveiled two years ago a 3,152-panel rooftop solar installation at the Brooklyn Navy Yard as a step toward the goal of generating 100 megawatts of renewable energy on public buildings by 2025.

  • 4 Sep 2018 6:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Iulia Gheorghiu, Utility Dive

    • The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) released new guidance for municipalities developing solar projects on landfills or brownfields, to maximize expansion on underutilized land and the state’s efforts to increase renewable generation.
    • The leasing instructions and templates in the Municipal Solar Procurement Toolkit reflect a lower threshhold of environmental review for projects on brownfields and landfills due to recent updates from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
    • In June, the DEC adopted a rulemaking package to streamline the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) regulations, which does not require contractors to make formal assessments of environmental impacts of solar projects on brownfields. As the first update to SEQR in more than two decades, the changes, including the brownfield component, will take effect January 1, 2019.

    For the entire article, see


  • 4 Sep 2018 6:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Steve Dwyer

    When you create a designation around an over-arching concept, like brownfields and its attendant Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA), you add clarity when factoring in the role of Big Government.

    State and local governing bodies have a lot on their plate and wade through a lot of red tape. Some members are more fluent about certain concepts than other concepts. Creating a designation, you foster clarity and clarity triggers action among the entire governmental body.

    For instance, when tax incremental financing districts (TIF) became prevalent years ago, the concept added much-needed clarity to a funding concept that now brought focus to the table. It served as a precise, niche program that state and local officials could comprehend, get their arms around.

    It became regenerative as a host of new TIF districts were established across urban landscapes in the U.S. The districts were established, then funded, properly rehabilitated and put back into vibrant end use to drive new taxes, economic prosperity and social enhancement.

    The advent of a BOA is akin to the TIF district as you have a program that state and local representatives can see—on paper—comprehend and react. In Big Government, clarity is our friend in a mecca where nebulousness often rules. BOAs get officials thinking about properties in a certain way.

    This comes to mind when considering New York’s continued acknowledgement of BOAs and their ramifications for smart growth and reuse. The state activated the program in 2003, paced by the Superfund/Brownfield law. Under the auspices of the New York Dept. of State, BOA establishment provides municipalities and community-based organizations with assistance, up to 90% of the eligible project costs, to complete revitalization plans and implementation strategies for areas or communities affected by the presence of multiple brownfield sites, and site assessments for strategic brownfield sites.

    Following two years of work, a BOA called West Shore on Staten Island is making inroads. The 179-acre parcel, designated a BOA, is proof positive that “communities across the state are revitalizing vacant brownfield sites and these designations provide the resources to make their grand visions a reality,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently said in a statement.

    Recommendations from the study include major site renovations or developments for seven underutilized properties on the 179 acres, roadway consolidation and infrastructure improvements, and expanded public transit that will serve the Amazon and IKEA facilities.

    The study paid careful attention to creating a district flood resiliency plan, which anticipates flooding issues associated with sea-level rising water in the West Shore’s low-lying areas that currently have limited sewer and stormwater infrastructure.

    It also made numerous recommendations for improving business opportunities in the area, including blanket permitting, new public-private partnerships for service and unique tax incentives.

    In order to qualify for the BOA designation, officials submit a comprehensive revitalization strategy to the New York Department of State, which administers the program and determines if the proposed projects meet the requirements. Cuomo said the grant allows local officials to bring “much needed change” to neglected communities.

    “By dedicating resources to effectively plan for future remediation and redevelopment, we are ushering in a new, sustainable era” for Staten Island, said state Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island).

    Cuomo’s official BOA designation provides the Staten Island Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) with the following tools to encourage redevelopment on the West Shore:

        Support from the Department of State to municipalities and community organizations to pursue implementation of BOA plans;

        Possible priority and preference for state grants and financial assistance for projects located within the BOA;

        Remove uncertainty associated with investment in an emerging market;

        Developers that participate in the Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) to remediate and redevelop sites in a designated BOA are eligible for a tax credit “bump-up” of up to 5 percent if the development conforms to the BOA plan.

        Communities may apply to enter the BOA program across three steps:

        Step 1: Pre-Nomination Study – This provides a basic and preliminary analysis of the area affected by brownfield sites including: a description and justification of the study area and associated boundaries; a basic description and understanding of current land use and zoning; the delineation and description of existing brownfield sites and other underutilized properties; and a description of the area’s potential for revitalization.

        Step 2: Nomination – This provides an in-depth and thorough description and analysis, including an economic and market trends analysis, of existing conditions, opportunities, and reuse potential for properties located in the proposed BOA with an emphasis on the identification and reuse potential of strategic sites that are catalysts for revitalization. The Nomination concludes with a description of key findings and recommendations to advance redevelopment of strategic sites and to revitalize the area.

        Step 3: Implementation Strategy – This provides a description of the full range of techniques and actions, ranging from actions and projects that can be undertaken immediately to those which have a longer time-frame, that are necessary to implement the area-wide plan and to ensure that proposed uses and improvements materialize. Site assessments on strategic brownfield sites may be eligible for funding if environmental data is required.

    Legislators are busy people. Programs with designations, such as TIFs and BOAs—that are all carefully mapped out with clear, robust details—have the power to provide the clarity that Big Government requires to first comprehend it, and then act accordingly.

  • 23 Aug 2018 6:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Steve Dwyer

    New York City’s ambitious brownfield cleanup program is lapping the efforts of many states, demonstrating the aggressive stance and urgency to return properties back to productive reuse—benefits seen in everything from new tax generation, civic pride and environmental vigilance.

    The Voluntary Cleanup Program, created in 2009 to fill the gaps in a state program for cleaning up contaminated land, was designed to address tainted acreage that had been ineligible for tax credits under the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program. Nine years later, it has succeeded very well in achieving that mission.

    The City program is outpacing the entire state program, according to a new report. Moreover, the city program is outpacing those sponsored by other states. According to a report released in July by the Furman Center at New York University, the city program has enrolled an impressive number of sites—560 since 2009—compared with statewide programs that started earlier, like New York’s 713 since 2003, or Illinois’ 799 since 1994. The biggest year in the city so far was 2015 when 153 applications were made; in 2017, there were 68.

    You know the expression “a New York minute” very well. The Furman report revealed that it took 20.81 months for the average city site to be remediated compared with 57.96 months for the state sites—a gap that likely reflects the heavier contamination of the state sites, but also epitomizes the efficiencies seen in the way the city approves applications.

    What remains unclear is what impact the remediations are having on the neighborhoods and people nearby. Furman notes that the city’s remediation sites are heavily concentrated in areas like Greenpoint that have seen pronounced gentrification.

    Whether the remediations helped foster rising neighborhood incomes, or merely occurred at the same time—as well as whether those changes benefited incumbent residents or bumped them out—is not answerable with available data. Almost none of the remediated city sites were intended to return to industrial use: In the vast majority of cases, the land’s new lease on life was residential.

    An even bigger question is whether there is more land out there that needs remediating. The Furman report notes that the city’s sites are heavily concentrated in areas that have been rezoned, meaning there might be untapped potential elsewhere on the map.

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