October 29, 2012
Source: Elijah Brumback
MICHIGAN - Proposed changes to the state's lauded brownfield redevelopment act have proponents of the program hopeful that Michigan could see even more development activity.
Michigan's brownfield program, which helped transform many urban areas in West Michigan, is set to sunset at the end of the year, but the Legislature is considering a bill that not only extends the popular program, but also makes some tweaks to make it easier to use for developers.
That's the word from John Byl, partner with Warner Norcross and Judd LLP and chair of the Michigan Chapter of the National Brownfield Association. Byl and a handful of other business and local government leaders have been helping legislators identify ways to improve the program.
"What we're doing is trying to remove all the typical issues that create barriers to revitalization," Byl said. "We're making it easier for people to make the right decisions."
Broadening the ability to capture additional tax revenue could make even more projects viable, Byl said.
At its heart, the brownfield Tax Increment Financing (TIF) program helps defray the cost of cleaning up blighted and contaminated projects by capturing increased property taxes that would have been paid because of the rehabilitation project and passing those funds on to the developer. This up-front help is important, many in the industry say, because brownfields have high initial costs for clean up and remediation before a project can get off the ground. If communities want to redevelop challenged properties, then they need to help developers get over this initial cost barrier.
The proposed changes, if approved, would ratchet up the capabilities for TIF, Byl said.
For over 20 years, Envirologic Technologies, Inc. has served as a full service environmental consulting and services firm dedicated to assisting the regulated community in many facets of environmental concerns. Based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Envirologic provides support for brownfield, compliance, due diligence services and more in Michigan and adjacent states.